2. How to Make Authentic Budae Jjigae: Your Comprehensive Guide to the Korean Army Stew Recipe

The basic way to make budae jjigae in Korea.

Welcome to the vibrant and diverse world of Korean cuisine! In this guide, we’ll embark on a delicious journey to create an authentic Budae Jjigae, fondly known as Korean Army Stew.

Born from the harsh times of the Korean War when resources were scarce, Budae Jjigae has risen from its humble origins to become a globally beloved dish, rich in history and bursting with flavor. Without further ado, let’s embark on this culinary adventure!

Ingredients for an Authentic Budae Jjigae

An authentic Budae Jjigae boasts a plethora of flavors and textures, each ingredient adding its unique character to the dish. For our recipe, you’ll need:

  • Main ingredients: Sausages, spam, baked beans, kimchi, tofu, and instant noodles. The combination of processed and fresh ingredients creates a delightful contrast, symbolizing the post-war origins of the dish.
  • For the broth: Anchovy stock, gochujang (Korean red chili paste), gochugaru (Korean chili powder), soy sauce, and garlic. This blend of seasonings creates a rich and spicy broth that warms the soul.

Can’t find some of the ingredients? No problem! Budae Jjigae is all about adaptability and innovation. Feel free to substitute with whatever you have on hand, embracing the spirit of this dish’s origins.


Like any great dish, preparation is key when making Budae Jjigae. This step allows for a smooth, stress-free cooking process. Start by soaking your anchovies in cold water to prepare the stock. Meanwhile, slice your sausages and spam, dice the tofu, and chop the kimchi. Getting your ingredients ready in advance ensures an enjoyable cooking experience and a better taste.

Budae Jjigae

Cooking Your Budae Jjigae

With your ingredients prepped and your taste buds eager, it’s time to dive into the cooking process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to bring your authentic Budae Jjigae to life:

Step 1: Anchovy Stock

First, we start with the anchovy stock, the backbone of our stew. Soak 15-20 dried anchovies in cold water for 20 minutes to remove any excess saltiness. In a large pot, add the anchovies and about 8 cups of water.

Bring the mix to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes to extract the deep flavors from the anchovies. After simmering, strain the stock and reserve the liquid. This stock is a flavor-packed base for our Budae Jjigae.

Step 2: Main Ingredients

While the stock is simmering away, let’s turn our attention to the main ingredients. Start by slicing the sausages and spam into bite-sized pieces that will be easy to eat. Dice the tofu into cubes, and chop the kimchi into manageable portions. If you’re using fresh kimchi, make sure to drain it first to prevent your stew from becoming too sour.

Step 3: Seasoning Paste

Next, it’s time to prepare the seasoning paste. This potent mix will lend our Budae Jjigae its signature spicy kick. In a bowl, combine two tablespoons each of gochujang and gochugaru. Add one tablespoon of soy sauce for umami, and two minced garlic cloves for a punch of flavor. Mix these ingredients until they form a consistent paste.

Step 4: Assemble and Cook

With our ingredients prepped and our seasoning paste ready, it’s time to assemble the Budae Jjigae. In a large pot or traditional Korean clay pot, arrange the sausages, spam, baked beans, and kimchi. Pour in the anchovy stock and add the seasoning paste.

Bring the stew to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the flavors to meld together and the ingredients to soak up the delicious broth. Then add the instant noodles and tofu. Let these cook in the simmering stew for another 5 minutes until the noodles are tender and the tofu has absorbed the flavors of the stew.

Step 5: Serve

Just before serving your authentic Budae Jjigae, add some final touches. Slice some green onions and sprinkle them on top for a burst of fresh flavor. Then place a few slices of American cheese on the hot stew. The cheese will melt into the stew, adding a creamy, rich layer that rounds out the spicy, savory flavors. Your Budae Jjigae is now ready to serve!

Budae Jjigae

Enjoying Your Budae Jjigae

Budae Jjigae is best served hot, straight from the pot. The communal nature of this dish makes it perfect for sharing with family and friends. Accompany it with steamed rice to balance the bold flavors of the stew, and some fresh or fermented kimchi on the side for an extra tangy kick.

As you sit down to enjoy your homemade Budae Jjigae, allow yourself a moment to appreciate the journey. From gathering the ingredients to preparing the stew, you’ve embraced a part of Korean culture and history in your kitchen.

Remember, the best way to enjoy this hearty dish is with good company. So gather your loved ones around the table and enjoy the rich, complex flavors of your homemade Budae Jjigae.

As you taste your creation, imagine the bustling streets of Seoul, where food stalls abound with delicious, hearty stews simmering away, filling the air with mouth-watering aromas. Take pride in the dish you’ve created and the culinary skills you’ve honed. Here’s to many more adventures in Korean cooking!


Check out other dishes, too !!

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5. jeyuk bokkeum mastering the art of korean spicy stir fried pork at home


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