Budae Jjigae Recipe
The Army Stew

Budae Jjigae is a hot and spicy stew that was invented following the Korean War. American army bases became a permanent fixture in South Korea, to assist the South against any possible skirmishes with the North. The Americans brought several foods that had never been seen in Korea such as Spam, frankfurter sausages and baked beans for example.

These new ingredients were taken by Koreans and fused with Korean spices and sauces to create fusion dishes. This spicy stew is one of the most popular and the name Budae Jjigae literally translates as the 'army stew'

It’s a spicy dish, normally cooked in a big pan and served from the middle of the table, containing noodles, western ingredients and plenty of vegetables. Budae Jjigae is a great example of Koreans putting their own mark on foods. If you travelled to areas of Korea where army bases are common such as Uijeongbu, you will find this army stew at most restaurants as its very popular.

In addition to the ingredients I have used this stew is often made with Baked beans and sliced cheese which you can add if you wish.

I have used the following ingredients:

  • 150g of Spam
  • 3 Frankfurter sausages
  • 1 handful of Beansprouts
  • 100g of Tofu
  • 1 Instant Noodle (don't use flavouring)
  • Handful of Rice cakes (if you have)
  • Handful of Kimchi (if you have)
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 2 Mushrooms
  • ½ Courgette
  • Handful of Broccoli
  • 2 spring onions 
  • 800ml of Water with Chicken Stock


  • 2 Tablespoon of Gochujang
  • 2 Tablespoon of Red Pepper Powder
  • 2 Cloves of crushed garlic or 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil


Start by putting about 800ml of water in a pan, add to this about 2 cubes of chicken stock and mix well. Bring this to boil.

Cut the Spam, sausages and tofu in to slices and cut all the vegetables into chunks.

The sauce

In a bowl add all the ingredients for the sauce and mix well to create a hot and spicy paste.

To cook

Once the water in the pan is boiling, add the sauce and mix it in and add the other ingredients around it, keep the noodles on side for now.

Cook this all for about 10 minutes on a high heat, the easiest way to check its ready is to see if the onion is soft.

At this point add some noodles it is common to use some instant noodles like shin ramyun, you could use any supermarket plain noodle. This will take a further 3-5 minutes to cook.

To Eat

Budae Jjigae is commonly served in the middle of the table in the saucepan. You can then help yourself and take as much as you want.

You could serve with rice and some side dishes if you like, there should be plenty for at least one serving for 4 people.

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