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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Base Stew)

Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Base Stew) 1

According to Wikipedia, Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Base Stew) was invented as a way to use up surplus products from U.S. army bases after the Korean War ended. It is similar to Soon Dubu Kimchee Chigae (Korean Soft Tofu Kimchee Soup) with the addition of Spam or hot dogs. I usually make this when my Baechu Kimchee (Napa Cabbage Kimchee) is getting too ripe and/or I need to clear out the fridge.

Start with the kimchee base and toss in anything you wish. This particular evening, I added tofu, cabbage, onions, Spam, Ggakdugi Kimchee (Korean Pickled Radish/Daikon), fish balls, tiny dried fish, ramen, and half a can of beans (I had half a can leftover, it's a common army product, and Wiki even said it could be included).

Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Base Stew) 2

Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Base Stew)

For one 5-quart pot, you'll need:
1 cup Baechu Kimchee (Napa Cabbage Kimchee), the riper, the better
1 can Spam, diced
1 package ramen noodles

Optional: tofu, cabbage, fish balls, dried small fish, canned beans, more Korean chili paste, green onions, onions, garlic, miso paste, etc. The Wikipedia article even mentioned cheese!

In a 5-quart stock pot, drizzle a bit of sesame oil and add the diced Spam. (I used low-sodium Spam and it was ick! I'm sticking to regular Spam from now on.) When the Spam is golden, add about 1 cup of kimchi with the juices. Saute the kimchee, then fill the pot about halfway with water. Add any other ingredients you wish and turn the heat to medium to simmer for at least 15 minutes so the flavors can meld. Taste and add Korean chili paste or miso paste anything else you wish until the stew is to your liking.

Add the package of ramen noodles last and let them cook for about 5 minutes.

Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Base Stew) 3


My other Korean Spam recipes:
Fried Rice with Kimchee and Spam

1 year ago today, the most amazing Indian ice creams at Saffron Spot - Artesia (Little India).


  1. you and i must be feeling the same thing...i was JUST researching budae jjigae since i've never had it (let alone made it) even though i'm korean!

  2. ohhhh it has spam! that's it. I love it!

  3. I love versatile dishes like this where I can throw in anything I have in the fridge! :)

  4. Sarah,
    How could you not have? Most of the time I don't set out to make budae jjigae. It's like fried rice for me, a way to use up what's in the fridge.

    Ha! So bad for you!

    It's a good way to use up leftovers, that's for sure.


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