budae jjigae (korean army stew)
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Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)

A hot pot of sizzling spicy stew filled with kimchi, spam, ramen noodles and more! Usually shared amongst 2, 4 or even more people (the more the merrier, and the bigger the pot!)
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 2
Author: Jennifer | Chopsticks and Flour

Ingredients

Stock

  • 3 ⅓ cup (800 ml) water divided
  • 5 dried anchovies
  • 2 pieces (2 x 2 inch) dried kelp dashima 다시마

Sauce

  • 2 ½ Tbsp Korean chili flakes gochugaru
  • ½ Tbsp Korean chili paste gochujang
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp sugar
  • ½ Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp mirin
  • A few shakes and sprinkles of ground black pepper

If using pork or beef - Marinade

  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • tsp ½sugar

Main

  • 2 hot dogs cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 oz (1/3 a standard can) spam sliced thinly
  • ½ tofu package
  • 4 ounces enoki mushrooms base chopped off
  • ½ cup kimchi chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1.8 oz (50 g) Korean rice cake about 10 small pieces, if frozen - soaked in cold water for about 10 minutes
  • 1 package instant ramen noodles just the noodles
  • ½ onion
  • 3 ½ oz (100 g) pork belly or beef * optional I prefer the pork
  • zucchini sliced into pieces *optional (not traditional but a nice touch)

Instructions

Prepare Stock

  • Remove the heads and gut the dried anchovies (slit the anchovy in half to take out the black middle part).
  • Combine the water, dried anchovies and kelp pieces. On a medium-low heat, bring the stock to a simmer. After about 10 minutes, remove the kelp. Continue to simmer for about another 5-10 minutes. Discard the dried anchovies and kelp. *This stock is not essential for the recipe. You can use just rice water, chicken stock or even just water. Using a base with the anchovies or chicken stock will deepen the broth. 

Make Sauce

  • As the stock is simmering, make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients together and set aside.

Marinate Pork or Beef* (If Using)

  • In a medium sized bowl, marinate the meat with the soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Set aside. *I prefer pork but used beef today.

Assemble

  • Add in all of the main ingredients into a shallow pot except for the instant noodles. (I like to split the ingredients up into multiple places in the pot so each ingredient flavour will be spread apart!).
  • Top with the sauce (from step 4) on the ingredients.
  • First, add about just 2 ½ cups (600ml) of the stock and bring to a simmer on medium heat and continue to simmer until the ingredients are cooked through (about 5 minutes). *The Korean style is to cook it at the center of the table on a portable burner. As you do this, you can begin to enjoy the ready ingredients.
  • After enjoying a few bites of the dish, add in the instant ramyun and cook the noodles for another 4-5 minutes. As the budae jjigae cooks and the stew reduces, refill the pot with the remaining stock as needed. 
    *If you wish, you can add the noodles from the start. I like to enjoy a few bites with just hot white rice before doing so.
  • Enjoy with a bowl of warm rice!

Notes

*Many “traditional” Army Stew recipes include canned baked beans. I’ve never actually had it with it and it doesn’t sound very appealing to me. If desired, add about ¼ cup canned beans.
**It’s trendy to add cheese into this dish. I prefer not to add cheese into spicy stews but if desired, add 1-2 slices of cheese or ⅛ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.