Want to eat something simple, but that has a lot to offer at the same time? Then you need to try some budae jjigae (부대 찌재) or army stew.
The Sad Stew
Nothing is more fun than eating budae jjigae (부대 찌개) or army stew. Nothing beats having a nice stew right in front of you for you to pick delicious bits and pieces from while talking to your friends. It is a very social dish. Fun and social as it may be, budae jjigae is not all laughter and pleasure. Its history is drenched in deep sorrow.
According to my Korean roommate budae jjigae has a very sad history. Its history is so sad that is grandmother dislikes eating it as it reminds her of other, difficult times. The story begins during the Korean War when the South and the North fought a vicious war against one another, a result of Cold War diplomacy. Food was very scarce and Koreans scavenged the land for anything that was even remotely edible. The scraps they gathered were then stewed together with what little they could muster. That sludge gave birth to budae jjigae or army stew.
Nowadays budae jjigae is nothing like the sludge that inspired its creation. Now it is a veritable feast of sausage, noodles, tofu and many other things. Yet, some elderly Koreans might not enjoy eating this for the sorrowful memories it brings back.
Budae Jjigae is a very easy dish to make. Even if you absolutely think you cannot cook, you can still make -this- stew. To make budae jjigae you simply need to gather your ingredients. Then you simply arrange them nicely in a pan and cover it with water. It really is that simple. I think anyone can manage doing this, no?
Of course, you should never forget the kimchi. Kimchi is an absolute must for the stew. Luckily for me the kimchi I made has aged wonderfully and I could use it to make my own budae jjigae. It tasted delicious and the result made me so much happier since the taste really rewarded my hard kimchi work. Next time I just have to make even more.
Budae Jjigae or Army stew is a delicous stew that is made and eaten at the table. It is a feast of ingredients so you will always have something to eat when you tire of one ingredient. Easy and quick to make.
- 200 g Ramen noodles
- 300 g Tofu, soft and cubed
- 150 g Kimchi
- 150 g Sausage, small
- 100 g Spam, sliced
- 100 g Korean rice cakes, sliced
- 10 Dumplings
- 1-2 tbsp Korean red chili paste (gochujang)
- 1-2 tbsp Korean red chili flakes (gochugaru)
- Arrange the ramen, tofu, kimci, spam, sausage, dumplings and rice cakes in the pan.
- Add gochujang and sprinkle gochugary over the ingredients.
- Pour water over the ingredients to submerge the ingredients.
- Put the pan on a heating element and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat when it boils and start eating when everything is cooked.
Do not forget to add a spoon or two of kimchi juice. It will make your budae jjigae taste so much better.
Budae jjigae is not spicy at all so if you worry about that, you needn't worry.