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Budae Jjigae, Army Stew

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Average: 3 (1 vote)
prep time: 
40 min
inactive time: 
0 min
cooking time: 
10 min
total time: 
50 min

Budae Jjigae, or army stew, originated shortly after the Korean War when food was scarce and many Koreans were starving. Food was smuggled from American military bases, and then local Koreans used the American ingredients to create a stew. With processed meats such as spam and hot dogs, the stew became an assortment of Korean vegetables, spicy seasonings and other leftovers thrown together into a large pot. This is how Budae Jjigae came to be; created out of necessity during a difficult time.

Army stew is still popular in South Korea. It's a trendy table-cooking food in restaurants and often eaten while drinking soju (rice liquor). Budae Jjiage has evolved since its post-war origins. It now has more Korean ingredients such as ddeok (rice cakes), kimchi, gochujang and various types of noodles.

How does this crazy combination of East-meets-West flavors taste? Surprisingly good! Budae Jjiage's flavor is complex, yet well balanced and definitely has a spicy kick. Serve this dish at your next dinner party. It will be unforgettable!

Buy Korean ingredients online here.

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Change to: Metric US

main ingredients

6 cupsBeef Bone Broth 사골육수 (or anchovy broth or broth of your choice, may need less if NOT table-cooking
5 ozSpam 스팸
4 ozHotdog 소세지
4 ozGround Pork 간 돼지고기 (can also use beef or other meat)
6 ozTofu, Soft or regular (for stew) 두부 (찌개용) (optional)
2 ozBaked Beans 빈즈 (in a can, optional)
4 ozKimchi 김치 (over fermented sour kimchi is better)
Green Onion 파
2 ozEnochi Mushroom 팽이버섯 (or your favorite mushroom)
Instant Noodle 라면 (or 2 oz of cooked macaroni)
3 ozRice Cake for soup, Sliced Garae Ddeok 떡국떡 (optional)
1 sheetProcessed Cheese (optional)

for broth seasoning

1 tbsGochujang (Hot Pepper Paste) 고추장
3 tbsGochugaru, Korean Hot Pepper Flakes 고추가루
1 tbsSugar 설탕 (optional, or 2 tbs of maesil-jeup, Asian plum extract)
1 tbsAnchovy Fish Sauce 멸치액젓 (optional or 1 additional tsp of soy sauce)
3 tbsCheongju, Korean Rice Wine 청주 (or white wine)
1 tspSoy Sauce (regular) 왜간장
1 tbsGarlic (minced) 다진 마늘
⅔ tspBlack Pepper 후추

for making fried rice (optional second course for table cooking)

1 cup ⅔ tbsCooked Rice 밥
2 ozKimchi 김치 (finely chopped)
1 tbsSesame Oil 참기름
2 sheetSeaweed (Gim, Laver) 김 (8" by 8" sheet or equivalent, can use less or more to your preference)
Egg 계란 (cracked)

Good to Know
Many of the ingredients such as spam, hot dogs and beans are already seasoned. So depending on the amount of these ingredients you use, the stew may become more or less salty. If you are not sure, you can always hold back some of the seasoning sauce in the beginning and gradually add it as you taste the stew.

You can add more rice cake and/or noodles if you like. But, if you add too much of them, the stew will become too thick and starchy.

More questions? Please leave your questions in the comments section below. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.

Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Make seasoning sauce

In a bowl, put 1 tbs of gochujang (hot pepper paste), 3 tbs of gochugaru (hot pepper flakes), 1 tbs of sugar, 1 tbs of anchovy fish sauce, 3 tbs of rice wine, 1 tsp of soy sauce, 1 tbs of minced garlic and ½ tsp of black pepper. Mix well and set it aside. Let it mature for about 30 min. (If you have time, mature the sauce overnight.)

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  • 1 tbs gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • 3 tbs gochugaru
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs anchovy fish sauce
  • 3 tbs rice wine
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • ½ tsp black pepper

2. Soak rice cake (optional)

Soak rice cake in cold water for about 30 minutes (optional). *This is optional, but pre-soaking will reduce the cooking time and make the broth less starchy. If you like starchy broth, don’t pre-soak and add rice cake at the beginning.

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  • rice cake
  • image: clock.png 30 min

3. Cut spam

Cut 5.3 oz (150g) of spam into thin two bite-size pieces (approximately 1.5” x 1.5” x ¼” or 4 cm x 4 cm X 0.6 cm).

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Cut into two bite size

  • 5.3 oz spam

4. Cut Tofu

Cut 6 oz (170g) of tofu into two bite-size pieces. Don’t cut it too thinly. It may break. (approximately 1.5” x 1.5” x 3/8” or 4 cm x 4 cm X 0.9 cm).

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Cut into two bite size

  • 6 oz tofu

5. Slice hot dogs

Slice 4 oz (113g) of hot dogs (or sausages) diagonally.

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Slice diagonally

  • 4 oz hot dog

6. Chop kimchi

Chop 4 oz (113g) kimchi into bite size pieces.

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Chop into bite size

  • 4 oz kimchi

7. Wash enochi mushroom

Wash 2 oz (56g) enochi mushroom.

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Enochi mushroom

  • wash

8. Cut green onions

Wash, peel and cut 5 green onions diagonally.

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Green onion

  • wash
  • peel
  • cut diagonally

9. Arrange the ingredients

In a shallow wide pot, arrange spam, hot dogs, ground pork, tofu, baked beans, kimchi and enochi mushroom. Add the seasoning sauce from step 1 in the middle and green onions on top. Pour 4 cups of beef bone broth (or your choice of broth) over the ingredients. *Leave 2 cups of broth for later.

image: STBDAA09.JPG


  • spam
  • hot dogs
  • ground pork
  • tofu
  • baked beans
  • rice cake
  • kimchi
  • enochi mushroom


  • seasoning sauce
  • green onion
  • 4 cups broth

10. Table cooking

Typically, Koreans will cook this on a portable stove while everyone is seated at the dinner table. But, you can certainly cook it on a regular stove and serve it. Bring the stew to boil on high heat.

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Bring to boil

  • High Heat image: highheat.png

11. Add instant noodles

Once the stew comes to a boil, let it boil for about 5 minutes on high heat. Then add instant noodles (broken in half) and rice cake. *Do not add the seasoning that comes with the instant noodles. Add a slice of cheese on top (optional). Stir and turn over all the ingredients with tongs or a ladle.

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Let it boil

High Heat image: highheat.png #timer 5


  • instant noodles
  • rice cake
  • cheese

12. Serve

When the instant noodles are cooked (soft), the stew is ready to be served. Serve with a bowl of rice on the side. If you are table-cooking, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer as you eat. Add more broth if the stew gets boiled down and becomes too thick or salty. Koreans often eat out of a communal pot when eating stews. But you can have individual bowls on the table if you like.

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  • when noodles are cooked
  • with bowl of rice

If table-cooking

  • turn down heat
  • add more broth as needed

13. Fried Rice I (Optional second course)

After finishing the soup, remove the liquid from the pot leaving a very small amount of broth at the bottom. Add the rice mix (cooked rice, chopped kimchi, crumbled seaweed sheets, cracked egg and sesame oil) into the pot and stir-fry on high heat for 3 min.

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Leave a little bit of soup

Add rice mix

Stir-fry High Heat image: highheat.png image: clock.png 3 min

14. Fried Rice II (Optional second course)

Pat down the rice so it’s leveled and turn down the heat to low. Leave it for 5-10 min for the rice to form a crispy crust at the bottom. Turn off the heat and enjoy your fried rice!

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Level the rice and turn down heat

Low Heat image: lowheat.png image: clock.png 5 min