Korean "Army" Stew (2) | Budae Jjigae (부대찌개)

My original budae jjigae post is so ugly! I had to redo it. HAD to. That old one doesn't even look appetizing; it's so unappetizing-looking that it makes me think budae jjigae is gross. Anyway, as I explained in that original post, budae jjigae is a dish that originated during the Korean war. After the war, there wasn't much food so some resourceful Koreans used the leftover rations from US bases - namely hot dogs and spam - and combined them with a Korean staple - kimchi jjigae - to create a saltier, mish-moshy version that makes me really happy.

It can be made many different ways but for me, the must-have components are kimchi (duh), some sort of salted processed meat (ham, spam, hot dogs, bologna), dduk, and noodles (either ramen or glass noodles, a.k.a. dangmyun). Some places even put pasta in their budae jjigae. But honestly, it's up to you what you throw in and it will probably depend on what you have in your fridge and pantry because that's what the spirit of the dish is all about. It's making do with what you have and turning it into something delicious.
2 cups chopped cabbage kimchi
1 cup water
½ lb tofu, sliced
package of ramen (the spicy kind)
2 to 3 hot dogs, sliced
handful of rice cakes
1 egg
chopped scallions
+ glass noodles, spam, dumplings, cheese, the kitchen sink - seriously, you can put almost anything in here
*by the way, this is a great way to use up overly fermented kimchi
Chop the tofu and the hot dogs and the scallions.
Add the kimchi and the water to a pot and bring to a boil. Let it cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the kimchi is soft and almost translucent. The color will go from a vibrant red to a duller red. At this point, you can add in more water to create more soup; this is optional. Add in the hot dogs (and spam if you're using it) and the tofu. Let it cook for about 10 minutes. Add in the rice cakes (and dumplings if you're using them). Stir in the contents of the ramen soup base packets.
Boil the ramen noodles in a separate pot of water. Do the same thing if you're using glass noodles and/or pasta. You could even use all three if you want.
Add the egg to the jjigae and then the noodles. Whoa, we're starting to overflow a bit, huh?
Garnish with scallions and serve while piping hot.
Shift the noodles a bit and reveal the yummy bits of hot dog and kimchi and egg and rice cake. So yummy with a steaming bowl of sticky rice.
Here's the recipe page:


  1. This is one of my favorite Korean dishes! Thanks for sharing :-)

    1. :):) It's one of my fav's too; any excuse to eat hot dogs and ramen together, right?


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