Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)

Have you had the Korean Army Stew or rather known as Budae jjigae ? I haven’t heard of it until the recent, say, 5-6 years. It was apparently made by the Americans during the Korean War with food they had in their camp, mainly canned food such as baked beans, spam and sausages. I love spam and the idea of this stew appealed to me cause it’s as trashy as it can get but SO YUMMY!

The second version

The way to a good stew is the stock. Most of the ingredients are quite easily prepared and you can use whatever you have, if you want to use more spam cause you don’t have sausages ? That’s is fine as well. If you want to use some leftover fishcake or tofu ? Sure, go ahead. Ideally you want to have a mix amount of “meat”, noodles and vegetables. Adding a few slices of cheese ties up the whole dish together giving the sauce a savoury taste.

The broth is made from boiling anchovies, konbu and mushroom in water for just about 20-30 minutes. While that is happening, make the paste, cut up your desired ingredients and arrange them on a large shallow pot. I would say, the budae jjigae feeds 5 and it is not that feasible to make a small portion for 2 cause then you can’t put a different variety of ingredients.

Then, the broth is pour into the assemble pot of goodness and left to boil. It’s best to have it in the middle of your dining table, with a induction or portable gas stove set up. and shared by your family members, together. And as it boils, the soup will reduce and you may add more broth.

The ingredients are really up to you so I will just share the broth and paste recipe below. Here’s a video of the assembly on how to stack them up in your pot.

Stock for Budae Jjigae

Servings 6 cups


  • 8 dried anchovies heads removed and gutted, or use powdered anchovies stock
  • 2 large dried shiitake mushroom
  • 1 dried kelp / konbu (5" x 5")
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, leave to simmer with lid close for 20-25 minutes. When it's done, turn off heat and set aside till ready.
  • Remove the konbu and mushroom. You may discard the konbu. As for the mushroom, cut into slices to be used in the stew later.
  • If using pork in the budae jjigae, add sliced pork fillet to the stock and simmer for 5 another minutes. Remove pork and reserve for later.

Seasoning Paste for Budae Jjigae


  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp hot pepper paste / gochujang
  • 2 tbsp hot pepper flakes / gochugaru
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water


  • Mix all the ingredients in bowl and set aside to mix in with the budae jjigae. To make it spicier, add more hot pepper flakes.

I’ve made this dish many times and most of the time, it’s a hit because it’s spicy, salty and very warming and comforting. If you have leftover, add onto a bowl of rice to make another meal.

If you’ve tried this recipe, please tag me on Instagram (@sweesan) and I’ve love to see how it turned out for you!


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