Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)

Budae jjigae  (Army stew) is easy to make. As long as it has kimchi and some American processed meats, it’s a budae jjigae. You can’t go wrong with the combination of sour kimchi and fatty bacon, spam and hot dogs.DSC 0778 1 e1576379432985 - Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)

What is budae jjigae

Budae jjigae (부대찌개) is a fusion dish that incorporates American processed meats such as Spam, ham, bacon, and hot dogs into a Korean stew with kimchi. Budae is a general term for a military base in Korean, but budae jjigae is translated into “Army stew” or “Army base stew” because of its origin.

In the 1950’s, food was extremely scarce after the three-year long Korean war which ended in 1953. So, those surplus processed meats from the U.S. military bases were great sources for Koreans to supplement their food shortage. In the city of Uijeongbu (의정부), about 12 miles northeast of Seoul, where U.S. Army bases are stationed, a restaurant owner started to make a stew with those meats from the Army bases. Since then, budae jjigae has become immensely popular as a delicious comfort food all over Korea.

Budae jjigae e1576383557305 - Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)

How to make Korean army stew

Budae jjigae is easy to make. As long as it has kimchi and some processed meats, it’s a budae jjigae. You can’t go wrong with the combination of sour kimchi and fatty bacon, spam, ham, and/or hot dogs. The older the kimchi is, the better your stew will taste. 

Other popular bugae jjigae ingredients include: slices of American yellow cheese, canned baked beans, instant ramyeon (or ramen) noodles, and rice cake slices. 

I kept it simple in this recipe. To make the stew, cut the ingredients into bite size pieces, and arrange them in a medium size shallow pot. Cook after adding the broth and seasoning ingredients. 

budae jjigae collage e1576382084865 - Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)

Tips for making and enjoying budae jjigae

  1. Use flavorful broth such as anchovy broth or good quality store-bought beef or chicken broth.
  2. Have extra broth so you can replenish while eating, if needed.
  3. Noodles absorb lots of liquid if you cook them in the stew. Pre-boil the noodles right before adding to the stew. 
  4. Cook the stew over the portable burner at the table for more delicious experience. You can add more ingredients as the diners take some out to eat. Most ingredients in this recipe don’t take long to cook.
  5. Eat the noodles first while they are still nicely chewy. This will also prevent the noodles from soaking up too much liquid from the stew.
  6. Freeze the leftover processed meats for more budae jjigae later. 

Morea Korean stew recipes

Kimchi jjigae
Kimchi soondubu jjigae
Haemul jeongol (seafood hot pot)
Doenjang jjigae
Gamjatang (spicy pork bone stew)

DSC 0797 1 e1576383668479 - Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)

Have you tried this budae jjigae recipe? Please rate the recipe below and leave a comment! Stay in touch by following me on YouTubePinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

DSC 0797 1 350x350 - Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)

Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)

4.7 from 13 votes
Main
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups baechu (napa cabbage) kimchi
  • 2 hot dogs (or sausages)
  • 3 strips bacon (or about 3 ounces fatty pork),
  • 1/3 can of spam (about 4 ounces)
  • 4 ounces tofu, sliced (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 mushroom caps, sliced
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced - optional
  • 4 cups anchovy broth (or beef or chicken stock) More if you want extra broth. You can also use water.

Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) Use more for a spicier stew
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
  • 1 tablespoon soup soy sauce (or salt to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons broth or water
  • black pepper to taste

Optional

  • 1 package instant ramyeon noodles Pre-boil right before adding to the stew to keep them from absorbing too much liquid from the stew

Instructions

  • Cut the ingredients into bite size pieces, and arrange them in a medium size shallow pot. Mix all the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
    DSC 0743 e1426476568509 - Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)
  • Add the broth, and stir in the seasoning.
    DSC 0784 e1426476710450 - Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)
  • Cook over medium high heat until the bacon is cooked through and the kimchi has softened. Add the optional ramyeon noodles and more broth or water if necessary. (The noodles soak up a lot of the liquid, so I briefly cook the ramyeon noodles in a separate pot of water before adding to the stew.)
    DSC 08121 1024x685 - Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)

Notes

  1. Use flavorful broth such as anchovy broth or good quality store-bought beef or chicken broth.
  2. Have extra broth so you can replenish while eating, if needed.
  3. Noodles absorb lots of liquid if you cook them in the stew. Pre-boil the noodles right before adding to the stew. 
  4. Cook the stew over the portable burner at the table for more delicious experience. You can add more ingredients as the diners take some out to eat. Most ingredients in this recipe don’t take long to cook.
  5. Eat the noodles first while they are still nicely chewy. This will also prevent the noodles from soaking up too much liquid from the stew.
  6. Freeze the leftover processed meats for more budae jjigae later. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!