December 22, 2014

How to make Budae Jjigae

Budae jjigae is one of my favorite things. We usually make this on the road when we're going on day trips, and it's one thing that always makes me think of home. This was a staple in my house when I was growing up, so I wanted to share the super easy recipe here on the blog today.

In case you didn't know, budae jjigae translated to army stew. This stew came about during the Korean War while U.S. soldiers were stationed around different areas in Korea. Resources were really scarce for Koreans, and so they made use of the surplus of supplies these American soldiers had, mainly meats like sausages, ham, spam, etc.

They added these ingredients with traditional Korean stew ingredients and made what was once a poor man's food, and now known as one of the most popular dishes to come out of Korea. It's what I always introduce my friends to if they're new to Korean food, and is a lot safer than some other Korean tastes.

Every household kind of makes this differently, but here's what we use:

Onion, daikon, soybeans, spam, sausages, Korean squash, kimchi, chicken stock, red pepper seasoning, sliced rice cakes, ramen noodles. 

Since we were out (at Joshua Tree...again), we had our portable stove with our camping pots.

Chop up the onion into little slices (not into tiny cubes!). Chop the daikon radish and the squash into similarly sized rectangles (make sure to wash and peel the daikon first). Add soybeans that have been washed and have had the tails removed. Slice up the spam and sausages.

Dump all of it into the pot with the thinly sliced kimchi.

Next, add a little bit of chicken stock and the red pepper seasoning. This is a mix of red pepper paste, red pepper flakes (the Korean kind -- not the kind you sprinkle over pizza!), minced garlic, and soy sauce.

Then add your water and wait for it to come to a boil. You want to boil this until the radish is translucent and soft.

Once it's come to a boil and the daikon radish is almost cooked all the way, add in your ramen and your rice cake slices. We had four people, so we added two packs of ramen noodles and a lot of the rice cake slices, but you can adjust this to your liking.

If you want more, add more! If not, add less.

You can either save the little soup seasoning packets for another time, or throw them away.

Mix everything around and boil for another couple of minutes until the ramen noodles and the rice cake slices are soft. 

Then, you're ready to eat!

Always make sure you taste as you go. You can add as much of the red pepper seasoning as you want until you get the flavor you're looking for. I don't want to give you precise measurements here as it really is something that's different every time you make it. Sometimes you want it spicier and saltier, sometimes a little bit less. 

If by the end of it you think it's beyond saving, sneak in one of those ramen seasoning packs. I personally am not a fan because there's a ton of MSG in there, but once a while...I guess not so bad. And it makes all the difference.


Let me know if you make this, and what you think. Clearly, I was so excited I couldn't even properly pose for a photo. Eat, consume, try not to burn your tongue. 

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  1. Oh man that looks delicious. Your photos are always so nice! Thanks for sharing :)


  2. At first glance I thought it was ddeokbokki because of the red-orange sauce. Then I saw the soy beans and I was all "wait, ddeokbokki doesn't have that.. Ohhh it's not ddeokbokki! Lol." I've never heard of budae jjigae though. It kinda reminds me of how they make bibimbap but like a sauceyer way, hahaha! I should try this next time :P

    Strawberry Bunny

  3. I can see how that first picture is a little misleading! Oh man, budae jjigae is the best. It's definitely more savory that ddeokbokki or bibimbap. But so good! Please do try, it'll change everything ^___^

  4. Ahhh thank you!!! And LOL I know! But yours looks so much fancier and was probably a lot nicer than our on-the-go version ;) But gah, I can't wait to see you again in a few months!!!!!!


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