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Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)- Korean Post War food

Shortly after the Korean war ended 1953, not much food was available and Koreans had to find anything edible to fight off starvation. Food was smuggled from American military bases, and then local Koreans used the American ingredients to create a stew

Seventy years later, South Korea has become one of the richest countries in the world but this dish is still served in many restaurants and has become one of the most popular national dishes. I feel very sorry for our grand parents' generation who had to suffer through the war and at the same time have a tremendous amount of gratitutde and respect for them. 

It looks like a strange combination of ingredients. So Korean (Kimchi, Tofu..etc) and so American (Spam, sausage..etc) but you will be surprised with the flavor that is comforting, warm, spicy, and delicious!  I highly recommend you cook this dish on the tabletop and enjoy it with your friends and family. Don't forget to prepare steamed rice to serve with it.

RECIPE (Serving 3-4 people)  

1cup                    Kimchi

1/2block(7oz)      Tofu, slice 1/2 inch thickness

1 cup                   Mushroom (either Shitaki or Oyster)

1 cup                   Rice cake, thinly sliced 

1/2 cup                Canned pork & beans

4                          Sausagess  thinly sliced (preferably Nathan's brand)

1/2 block(6oz)     Spam, low sodium, thinly sliced 1/4 inch 

32 fl oz (4cups)   Low sodium chicken broth 

1                          Korean Instant ramen (excluding seasoning packet that comes with it.

1-2 slice               American Cheese (or cheddar cheese) 

Green onions for garnish (optional)


1/2 Tbsp   Gochu Jang 

2 Tbsp      Gochu Garu 

2 Tbsp      Mirin (or rice wine) 

1 Tbsp      Soy sauce

1 Tbsp      Garlic, minced 

1/2 Tbsp   Sugar  


  1. Mix sauce ingredients and set aside.

  2. In a large shallow pot, place Kimchi, tofu, mushroom, rice cake, pork & beans, sausage, and Spam around the edge, leaving the middle part empty.

  3. Add sauce to the middle. 

  4. Add chicken broth and boil on medium high heat.

  5. Once it starts boiling, turn down  the heat and bring it to steady simmer for about 10 minutes. Using a ladle or spoon,  blend chicken broth and sauce well. 

  6. Add ramen to the middle of the pot and continue to cook until the ramen is about 3/4 cooked, for about 2-3 minutes.  Ladle the boiling broth over the ramen to help the noodles break apart and cook thoroughly. 

  7. Add cheese slices and when the cheese is half melted, the dish is ready to enjoy. Sprinkle chopped green onions if you like. 


Fatima Azzahra 10:00 AM