Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)

This spicy stew includes random ingredients such as Spam, sausage, kimchi and cheese (and sometimes macaroni!). The dish was invented when American soldiers based in Korea brought over all these Western ingredients. It is now a typical meal in Korea.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1/2 cup gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup fish sauce

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons mirin

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1/2 cup dried anchovies

5 cloves garlic

One 2-inch piece daikon radish

One 2-inch piece kombu

1/2 onion


6 ounces sliced Spam

10 cocktail sausages

6 strips bacon, cut in half 

8 ounces firm tofu, sliced

8 ounces tteok (Korean cylindrical rice cakes)

8 ounces canned pork and beans

1 cup kimchi

1/2 onion, sliced

One 4.5-ounce package dried ramen noodles

1 cup shredded mozzarella 

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 cups watercress (about 1 bunch)

Steamed rice, for serving


  1. For the sauce: Put the gochugaru, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, mirin, sesame oil, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. For the broth: Put the dried anchovies, garlic, daikon, kombu, onion and 2 quarts water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Strain into a bowl or saucepan and discard the solids. 
  3. For the toppings: Arrange the Spam, cocktail sausages, bacon, tofu, tteok, pork and beans, kimchi and sliced onion in a large, low-sided skillet. Add the sauce to the middle of the pot; don't stir. Heat on high heat for 5 minutes. Add enough broth to cover all the ingredients (you may not use all the broth), bring to a boil and boil on high heat for 5 minutes. Mix the sauce gently into the broth so it is well incorporated. Lower to medium heat and add the remaining broth. Simmer for 10 more minutes, then add the ramen and cook until the noodles are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and top with mozzarella, scallions and watercress. Serve with steamed rice.