Korean Army Stew Buddaejjigae

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Look what I’ve made! This is Buddaejjigae, which is literally translated as Army Stew and is a dish that was created during WW2 by the Korean soldiers who were relying on food rations from the USA. Being Asians, they made the American Spam, cocktail sausages and baked beans into something more palatable to the Korean tastebuds and my Korean friend told me that it is also meant to be very spicy.

My parents had never eaten this before and they were quite surprised at how simple it really is. So these are some of the characteristic ingredients in a Korean Army Stew:

  • canned sausages
  • spam
  • kimchi
  • baked beans
  • loads of vegetables
  • rice cake
  • firm tofu (tau gwa)
  • 1 packet of instant noodles
I did away with the instant noodles because I just wanted to eat rice cakes. Think of it a little bit like an Irish Stew or Devil’s Curry so it’s also a good time to chuck in certain meats that you have. In this case, I had chicken but you could throw in beef/pork/mutton.
Other ingredients in my stew are:
  • quail eggs
  • enoki mushrooms
  • cheese tofu
  • chicken
  • 1 slice of processed cheese 
Soup base:
2 tbsp Korean chilli paste (you can halve this if you can’t handle spice)
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp honey
4-6 cups of bonito/fish/vegetable stock
4-6 tbsp liquid from the kimchi
1/2 large onion, sliced
  1. Lightly stir fry the onions with some sesame oil.
  2. Once the onions are a bit cooked, pour all the liquids into a pot and bring it to a boil.
  3. Stir and adjust to your liking. Remember that it will reduce in the stew so it should be less salty and less spicy than you’d normally prefer.
  4. While the soup base is boiling, arrange all your stew ingredients into your pot. Pile it in this order: rice cakes, vegetables, tofu, kimchi, mushrooms, meat, instant noodles and cheese.
  5. Pour the soup base into the pot and place your pot onto a conduction plate so that it stews while you eat. 
  6. When the instant noodles soften, dunk it into the sauce and that’s when you know everything in the pot should be thoroughly cooked. But before that, items such as the sausages and spam should be already cooked and you could eat that while waiting for the noodles to soften.

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