Budae Jjigae – Korean Army Stew

Budae Jjigae or the Korean Army stew is a result of the Korean war, hence one will find American ingredients such as spam and noodles in this dish.

The Korean army stew or Budae Jjigae is a great example of making the best of what one has.The shortage of food supply during the Korean War forced the Korean army to consume the leftover American food. Spam, canned beans, ham, bacon, sausages and cheese – all these ingredients were alien to the Koreans but they were left with no choice but to ingest it.

It was then that Budae Jjigae was invented. The Korean army put together all the American ingredients with some kimchi and brought it to a boil. The resulting stew was delicious, wholesome and most of all suited their palate.

Apart from kimchi, tofu and rice cakes are the other Korean ingredients used. Instant ramen too can be added. Kimchi is popular for its health benefits and tofu is considered to be a great source of protien.

Budae Jjigae - Korean Army Stew

Image Courtesy: LWYang used under the Creative Commons Licence

Here’s how you can make Budae Jjigae or Army Stew




Strips of bacon

Canned beans


Rice cakes


Chopped onions and garlic

Soy sauce

Red pepper paste (Gochujang)

Brown sugar




In a large pot bring some water to boil.

To this add chopped onions, garlics, red pepper paste and kimchi.

Once the water starts to boil add all the meat – bacon, spam and sausages and let it cook.

After the meat is cooked tofu, rice cake, brown sugar and salt.

The stew is ready to be devoured. Budae Jjigae is a simple dish with great flavours. Try it today!!

Budae Jjigae - Korean Army Stew Recipe

Image Courtesy: iGELig used under the Creative Commons Licence

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