Learn how to make popular Korean hot pot dish – Budae Jjigae (Army stew or Army base stew)! It is loaded with Kimchi, spam, sausages, ramen noodles and much more!
Korean hot pot dish is one of the most frequently requested recipes from my readers. Whether it’s cold weather that’s calling for this type of comfort food or you just want to have your friends and family over for this sharing friendly food, any excuses are acceptable here!
Among the hot pot varieties available, Korean army stew (Budae Jjigae, 부대찌개) is definitely one of the most popular hot pot dishes in Korea. I can vouch for this as I used to eat this army stew at least once a week with my colleagues. It’s reasonably cheap to buy and, even better, it consists of easy to find ingredients if you’re making it yourself.
Some facts about Army Stew (Budae Jjigae)
- Army stew or army base stew (Budae Jjigae) is Korean fusion stew that incorporates American style processed food such as spam, sausages, canned baked beans and sliced cheese.
- Budae (부대) is a general term for a military base in Korean and Jjigae (찌개) is a term for soup/stew. Hence the word army stew or army base stew was born.
- Soon after the Korean war (in the early 1950’s), food was extremely scarce in Korea, so those surplus processed foods from the US military bases were a great supplement for Koreans.
- Among the US military base areas in Korea, Uijeongbu, an hour north of Seoul, is most famous for this stew.
The best part about making this delicious stew is that the preparation is really easy – mostly involving cutting and slicing the ingredients. You can omit/substitute the main ingredients per your preference too.
To fit all the ingredients below, you will need at least a 12 inch shallow pot. I used my favourite pot for this recipe and it was just the perfect size. I cooked it on a portable burner so that my family can gather around the table and serve themselves while the stew gently bubbles down. It was so convenient and keeps the soup still hot even when the heat wasn’t on it. It’s really the perfect pot for Korean style hot pot, so you should check it out.
P.S. my friendly warning – As you can imagine from the listed ingredients below, it contains high-calorie food. What’s worse, the stew is very addictive! Extra workout plans are absolutely necessary! 🙂
P.P.S. Check out my spicy dumpling hot pot too!
Ingredients for Budae Jjigae (Serves 4)
- 4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock* (see note)
- 200g (7 ounces) SPAM, thinly sliced
- 4 cocktail Frankfurt sausage (150g, 5.3 ounces), thinly & diagonally sliced
- 250g (9 ounces) tofu, sliced (about 1.5cm, 1/2 inch thickness)
- 200g (7 ounces) enoki mushrooms, base stem removed & stems separated
- 200g (7 ounces) king oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced length ways
- 100g (3.5 ounces) shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup ripened bite sized Kimchi
- 110g (3.9 ounces) instant ramen noodles
- 50g (1.8 ounces) Korean rice cakes for soup, soaked in cold water for 15 mins if it was frozen
- 30g (1 ounces) green onion, thinly & diagonally sliced
- 1 or 2 slices of cheese
Sauce (Mix these in a small bowl)
- 2 Tbsp Korean chili flakes (Gochugaru)
- 2 Tbsp rice wine (mirin)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp Korean chili paste (Gochujang)
- A few sprinkles of ground black pepper
*1 Tbsp = 15ml, 1 Cup = 250ml
** If you want to learn more about Korean cooking ingredients, check my 30 essential Korean cooking ingredients list!
How to Make Budae Jjigae
1.Assemble the main ingredients (except for instant ramen noodles, rice cakes, green onion and cheese) in a shallow pot. Add the sauce in the middle. Pour the stock in the corner of the pot. Close the lid and boil it on medium high heat until the stock starts to boil (about 8 mins).
2. Add the remaining ingredients – instant ramen noodles, rice cakes, green onion and cheese on top of the pot and boil uncovered until the noodles are cooked (about 2 to 3 mins). Reduce the heat to low (if you’re cooking on a portable burner and sharing the food at the dinning table).
3. Start dishing out soup, protein and vegetables onto your own soup bowl. Serve with steamed rice (& with other Korean side dishes).
- I used store bought chicken stock, which saved at least 30 mins or more of potential cooking time compared to making it from scratch. According to the package, it contains chicken stock 98% (water, chicken, carrots, celery, cabbage, onions, sage extract, parsley), salt, sugar, yeast extract.
- As I can’t guarantee that every chicken stock you buy will give a result the same as mine, if you’re unsure, I suggest you mix with water (e.g. 2 cups water & 2 cups chicken stock) to ensure the chicken stock does not have too much overpowering taste.
- Alternatively, you can use homemade dried kelp & anchovy stock or beef stock. Get the homemade beef stock idea from this recipe. FYI, I didn’t like a store bought beef stock for this recipe as I thought it was a bit too salty.
- Noodles soak up a lot of liquid so it’s best to consume them first. Also, you can replenish with spare stock (if you have any) as it boils down. It should be still delicious. (& this is how Koreans eat this dish at a restaurant.)
Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)
- 4 cups chicken stock (1 litre) *see notes above
- 200 g SPAM thinly sliced
- 4 cocktail Frankfurt sausages (150g) thinly & diagonally sliced
- 250 g tofu sliced (about 1.5cm, 1/2 inch thickness)
- 200 g enoki mushrooms base stem removed & stems separated,
- 200 g king oyster mushrooms thinly sliced length ways
- 100 g shiitake mushroom caps thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Kimchi (ripened bite sized)
- 110 g instant ramen noodles
- 50 g Korean rice cakes for soup soaked in cold water for 15 mins if it was frozen
- 30 g green onion thinly & diagonally sliced
- 1 to 2 slice cheese
- Assemble the main ingredients (except for instant ramen noodles, rice cakes, green onion and cheese) in a shallow pot. Add the sauce in the middle. Pour the stock in the corner of the pot. Close the lid and boil it on medium high heat until the stock starts to boil (about 8 mins).
- Add the remaining ingredients – instant ramen noodles, rice cakes, green onion and cheese on top of the pot and boil uncovered until the noodles are cooked (about 2 to 3 mins). Reduce the heat to low (if you’re cooking on a portable burner and sharing the food at the dinning table).
- Start dishing out soup, protein and vegetables onto your own soup bowl. Serve with steamed rice (& with other Korean side dishes).