Budae Jjigae, also known as Korean Army Base Stew, is a fascinating culinary creation that originated during the Korean War. The name itself, “Budae Jjigae,” translates to “army base stew,” reflecting its unique history.
This fusion dish emerged when resourceful Koreans combined American military surplus ingredients with traditional Korean flavors to create a hearty and flavorful stew.
Unveiling the All-American Ingredients
The distinctiveness of Budae Jjigae lies in the use of easily accessible ingredients from American army base commissaries. The recipe typically includes hot dogs, sliced cheese, and Spam, which remains incredibly popular in South Korea.
These American ingredients are paired with Korean staples like noodles, vegetables, and a medley of flavorful seasonings, resulting in a harmonious blend of culinary influences.
Simplicity in Preparation
Despite the lengthy list of ingredients, Budae Jjigae is surprisingly simple to prepare. Recipe developer Patterson Watkins emphasizes the ease of the cooking process, summarizing it as a one-pot dish where everything is organized, seasoned, and simmered together.
The simplicity of this recipe allows anyone, regardless of their culinary expertise, to enjoy the delightful flavors of Budae Jjigae.
Gathering the Ingredients
To create Budae Jjigae, you will need a variety of ingredients that contribute to the unique textures and flavors of the stew. These include Spam, hot dogs, tofu, kimchi, onion, and mushrooms. While Watkins suggests enoki or beech mushrooms in combination with shiitake mushrooms, you can use any type of mushrooms as long as they are chopped into bite-sized pieces.
The soup base consists of chicken broth infused with gochugaru (dried Korean chile flakes), rice wine, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and gochujang. Ramen noodles, sliced American cheese, and scallions are used as the final toppings to complete the dish.
Arranging the Stew Components
Before delving into the cooking process, it’s important to select a wide, shallow pan that can accommodate all the ingredients. Options such as ttukbaegi, rondeau, or a shallow braiser are recommended, but a Dutch oven or any wide, low-sided saucepan will work just as well.
Once you have the pan ready, artfully arrange the Spam, hot dogs, tofu, kimchi, onion, and mushrooms in a wreath-like pattern within the pan.
Cooking the Stew
With the ingredients arranged, it’s time to cook the stew. Heat the pan over medium-high heat until the broth reaches a boil. There’s no need to stir the ingredients as they will blend together perfectly during the cooking process.
Once the stew reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. If you don’t have a lid that fits, a layer of foil will serve as a suitable substitute. Allow the stew to simmer for 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
After the stew has simmered, it’s time to add the ramen noodles. Partially submerge the noodles in the broth, then cover the stew and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the noodles become tender.
Finally, top the stew with slices of American cheese and sprinkle the scallions on top. The melted cheese adds a luscious creaminess, while the scallions provide a refreshing bite.
Enjoying the Delights of Budae Jjigae
Budae Jjigae is best enjoyed immediately while it’s hot and fresh. The rich and hearty flavors of this Korean-American fusion dish are sure to satisfy your taste buds. For a complete meal, consider serving it alongside steamed white rice, which complements the stew perfectly.
A Note on Portion Size
If you’re dining alone, it’s advisable to adjust the recipe to your needs as Budae Jjigae is not particularly suited for leftovers. However, it presents an excellent opportunity to gather friends and loved ones for a convivial feast. Sharing this memorable meal will undoubtedly create lasting memories and foster a sense of togetherness.
Budae Jjigae Recipe: Spicy Korean-American Fusion Stew
Prepare to tantalize your taste buds with Budae Jjigae, the perfect blend of Korean and American flavors. This quick and meaty stew is ideal for hosting friends and loved ones, providing a delightful culinary experience.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
- 1 tablespoon gochugaru (dried Korean chile flakes)
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 1 15-ounce can Spam, sliced ¼ to ½-inch thick
- 4 hot dogs, thickly sliced
- 7 ounces extra-firm tofu, sliced ¼ to ½-inch thick
- 1 cup napa cabbage kimchi
- ½ cup diced yellow onion
- 4 ounces enoki or beech mushrooms
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, quartered and stems trimmed
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 4-ounce package ramen noodles
- 2 slices American cheese
- 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 2 cups steamed white rice, for serving
- Combine the vibrant flavors of gochugaru, rice wine, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and gochujang in a small bowl, creating a tantalizing seasoning mixture.
- In a wide and shallow large pan, artfully arrange the mouthwatering combination of Spam, hot dogs, tofu, kimchi, onion, and mushrooms.
- Gently pour the rich and aromatic chicken broth into the pan, ensuring it envelops the stew ingredients. Follow by adding the flavorful soup seasoning mixture prepared in the previous step.
- Elevate the heat to medium-high, allowing the broth to reach a boil without the need for stirring.
- Once the broth reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low, covering the stew and allowing it to simmer for a blissful 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- With careful precision, partially submerge the ramen noodles into the fragrant broth. Re-cover the stew and let it cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until the noodles achieve the desired tenderness.
- As a final touch, generously crown the stew with slices of cheese and sprinkle with freshly chopped scallions. Serve immediately, and if desired, accompany the dish with a side of fluffy rice.
Here is the nutritional information for each serving of Budae Jjigae:
|Total Fat||32.6 g|
|Saturated Fat||11.9 g|
|Trans Fat||0.0 g|
|Total Carbohydrates||33.6 g|
|Dietary Fiber||3.9 g|
|Total Sugars||7.7 g|
When it comes to blending the best of Korean and American cuisines, Budae Jjigae takes the crown. This quick and hearty stew is perfect for gatherings with friends and loved ones, offering a delightful culinary experience that will leave everyone craving for more.