Also known as “Army Base Stew,” budae jjigae is a mixing pot of ingredients from both the Korean and American pantry. This savory stew was invented in the 1950’s shortly after the Korean war and during a time of food scarcity. The surplus of processed meats (such as Spam) from the U.S. military bases were added to pots containing traditional Korean vegetables and seasonings to create a fortifying meal.
The dish has evolved in the past half-century, but the spirit of budae jjigae is very much alive with cooks from the home to the professional kitchen adding ingredients to the stew based on items that are readily available in their pantries. We love making this dish because it is low effort – just some basic knife work and a few minutes of stewing time before a delicious meal is ready!
- 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pork shoulder, sliced into rectangles
- Spam, sliced into 1/2 thick squares
- Hot dogs, sliced diagonal on a bias
- Firm tofu, sliced into 1/2 thick squares
- Onions, thinly sliced
- Enoki mushrooms, roots removed
- Chicken broth
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the gochugaru, water, soy sauce, garlic, gochujang, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper.
- In a wide but shallow stew pot, arrange the pork shoulder, spam, hot dogs, tofu, onions, mushrooms, spinach, and kimchi.
- Add the seasoning mix to the pot.
- Pour in chicken broth until the ingredients are just covered.
- Bring to a boil, before lowering the heat to a light simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes before adding the ramen. Allow to continue cooking until the ramen is ready to eat, about 3 minutes more. Enjoy!