A delicious fusion Korean-American hotpot recipe, Korean Army Stew (Budae Jjigae) transforms simple everyday ingredients like spam, noodles, mushroom and veggies into mouth-watering spicy goodness. Perfect for sharing and entertainment too – you can cook it on the stove or on the table with friends!
This addictive hotpot recipe is the perfect remedy on a cold winter’s night, when you just want a fiery, spicy dish to warm you up from the inside out!
That said, we’re so addicted we’ll eat it on a steamy summer’s afternoon, so I guess this one is just about perfect to enjoy all year round.
All you need are a few tasty ingredients, a hotpot or frypan, and some hungry friends to eat it all up!
Quick note: There may be a couple of affiliate links in this post, which means that we may get a few cents if you purchase something through the link. We want to make sure some of our hard-to-find ingredients are reachable at the click of a button. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.
CLICK HERE TO SAVE RECIPE TO PINTEREST
In this post, we’ll quickly go through:
- What is Korean Army Stew?
- Korean Army Stew Origin
- What ingredients can I use in Korean Army Stew?
- How to make Korean Army Stew
- Can I prepare Korean Army Stew ahead of time
What is Korean Army Stew?
A fusion blend of east-meets-west in food, this powerhouse recipe infuses the flavour-packed intensity of Korean cuisine with American processed foods such as spam, sausages and cheese.
Korean Army Stew Origin
This fusion-style dish became popular after the end of the Korean War, when food was scarce and people would make use of American army surplus supplies.
How to make Korean Army Stew
This spicy Korean stew is made with of a range of tasty ingredients cooked in a spicy broth. The simmering blend of gochujang (spicy Korean chilli paste), chilli flakes, rice wine, sugar, garlic soy sauce and chicken stock will set your mouth watering before you even take a bite!
For the stew ingredients themselves, there are a few signature inclusions:
- Processed meat – such as spam, frankfurters, sausages or ground meat
- Cheese – you can use pre-sliced cheese, but we like spreading generous amounts of grated cheese aaaalllll across the top
- Korean rice cakes (tteok) – there are two main shapes often used in Korean dishes such as this stew as well as Tteokkboki – sliced rice cake and cylinder rice cake.
- Instant ramen noodles – just plain ol’ regular instant ramen or udon noodles
- Fresh kimchi
- Green onion – aka spring onion
- Tofu – soft or firm
- Mushrooms – enoki, oyster or shiitake (or all three if you’re a mushroom fiend like us!)
How to make Korean Army Stew
This is such an easy recipe to make at home because it’s so flexible! Use the ingredients you have, or the ones you love the most, and make it your way! If there’s something you don’t like, or it’s not easy to source, you can leave it out.
If you have a hotpot, fondue pot, or an electric frypan like us, this dish is so easy to cook on the table, which makes it perfect for friends to enjoy delicious food and fun conversation! But you can also just as easily cook it on the stove and dish out into small individual bowls.
In the below recipe we’ve included quantities for stock ingredients, but not for the main ingredients. This is because it really depends on how much you want to cook (and/or how hungry your friends are). You can easily prepare as much or as little as you like, and add more ingredients to cook as you go if your friends are still hungry or completely, totally, hopelessly addicted.
Can I prepare Korean Army Stew ahead of time?
It’s possible to prepare the stock separately and heat it up when you’re ready to eat. But we think this stew is best when prepared fresh and cooked immediately. That said, once all the main ingredients are eaten, we often reserve any remaining stock and reheat it along with extra noodles and other fresh ingredients to enjoy as leftovers the next day.
Note: This recipe was inspired by Korean Army Stew by My Korean Kitchen
For the Stock:
- 1 ltr chicken stock
- 2 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine
- 2 tsp Korean chilli flakes or regular chilli flakes
- 2 tsp sugar
For the Main Ingredients
- instant noodles 1 - 2 packets
- spam or frankfurts sliced into 2-3cm pieces
- Korean rice cakes (ttkeok) sliced or cylinder version
- fresh kimchi
- cabbage roughly chopped
- enoki mushrooms base removed, separated into small bunches
- tofu sliced into small cubes
- cheese sliced or shredded
- If you're using Korean rice cakes (tteok), place in a bowl and cover with hot water to soften them first while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
For the stock:
- Add all the stock ingredients into a large frypan, wok, fondue hot or hotpot, mix together over low heat.
- Layer your main ingredients in the pan (in artful sections, or mixed in all together - it's totally up to you!)
- Turn up the heat and layer everything with generous amounts of cheese. Cook on high heat until ingredients such as noodles and frankfurts are cooked through.
- Serve your Korean Army Stew just how you like it - either hotpot style in the middle of the table and allow everyone to help themselves, or dish out into individual bowls.