Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) is one of my favorite comfort foods. It is an interesting history, rooted in the Korean war.
After the devastating Korean war, food was scarce in Korea. Locals who lived near the US army bases (particularly Uijeongbu) made use of surplus US foods. Ham, hot-dogs, Spam and canned baked beans were mixed with kimchi stew to create the popular stew we know today. According to Wikipedia, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson also raved about the taste of Budae Jjigae during his visit to Korea at the time! Another interesting fact. During the military dictatorship of Park Chung-hee (in the 1970s), American products were not legally accessible to Koreans. Things like Spam had to be smuggled into the country – an offense punishable by death. It made budae-jjigae even more notorious and sought after.
Nowadays, the interest in SPAM is waning, as consumers seek healthier diets. However, I still like to periodically eat it for breakfast, along with eggs. Or as part of this budae jjigae dish. Without further adieu, here is a great recipe to try at home.
Cooking note: The anchovy broth does a great job in bringing the flavors of each ingredients together. If it is hard to find anchovy and kelp in your area, use store-bought chicken stock. Mix 2 cups water with 2 cups of chicken broth.
Budae jjigae - A recipe from The Korean War
- Dried medium-sized anchovies - 10
- Dashima - iphone-sized piece
- Water - 4 cups
- Korean radish - 200 grams
- Soup soy sauce - 1 Tablespoon
- Gochujang Korean red chili paste - 1 Tablespoon
- Gochugaru Korean red chili flakes - 2 Tablespoon
- Mirin - 1 Tablespoon
- Minced garlic - 1 Teaspoon
- Black pepper - couple shakes
- Spam - 200 grams
- Sausages - 2
- Baked beans - 3 Tablespoons
- Shiitake mushrooms - 4
- Onion - 1
- Tofu - 1 block
- Kimchi - 1/2 cup
- Ramen noodles - 1
- Spring onion - 10
- Salt - few shakes
- Take out the black innards from the dried anchovies (as show in the video) and place in a frying pan.
- Put frying pan on a high heat. Once it is hot, place anchovies in (without oil) and mix around for 20-30 seconds with a spatula.
- Then pour 4 cups of water into the pan. Then place in dashima and Korean radish. After water comes to boil, reduce to medium heat and let broth cook on a gentle simmer for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, take out dashima pieces.
- Let the rest of broth cook for another 10 minutes. Then drain the broth. Set aside.
- Mix all of the ingredients listed under 'Spicy Marinade' in a mixing bowl.
- Prep Pot
- Cut spam, sausage, mushroom, tofu, kimchi, spring onion into pieces and place them into a large frying pan. Then drop in three tablespoons of baked beans as well into the pan.
- Finally, place the spicy marinade on top.
- When you are ready to eat, pour stock broth into the pot. Put it on a high heat.
- Once it comes to a boil, let the broth and ingredients cook for 10 minutes. Use a soup ladle and mix the soup around a few times.
- After 10 minutes of boiling, taste the soup and add a few shakes of salt (to taste).
- Then place the ramen noodles in. Once the ramen noodles are ready, reduce the heat to a low. Eat the ramen first - before they turn soggy.
- Then eat the stew, alongside a bowl of hot rice!
- After you pour the broth into the pot, bring it up to boil and give it at least 10 minutes to boil. The broth needs some time to develop a deep flavor from all of the ingredients.
- If it is hard to find anchovy and kelp in your area, use store-bought chicken stock. Mix 2 cups water with 2 cups of chicken broth.
- Watch video for more detail