Thursday, January 23, 2014

Budae Jjigae (Military Base Stew)

Budae = military base
Jjigae = stew

This dish was invented during the Korean War because Koreans would take any ingredients that the Americans on base would leave behind, and use them to make into a stew. Basically it’s Korean American fusion. 

I saw them eating this on a drama a couple of weeks ago and have been craving it ever since. It's one of my favs. The hubs and I went to the city for this past three-day weekend and my only request was to stop at an Asian market so that I could pick up all of my long-desired Korean ingredients. There are a lot of Asian foods you can make with what normal grocery stores carry, but nothing will ever cure a craving for kimchi. Since we got home I have only been eating rice, nori, pickled daikon and kimchi. And I’m so happy. (Like how I use mostly Japanese words now? Hubby rubs off on a me more than I realize.)

Rating: 9
Why: For me, it was slightly too spicy and I wish the broth were a bit thinner (I am a soup person). Next time I will cut down the spice and boil it a few minutes less. 

Budae Jjigae
Serves 2-3
Adapted from my all-time favorite, Aeri’s Kitchen

·         1 c oval rice cakes
·         ½ c kimchi, sliced into bite-size pieces
·         ½ c sliced onions
·         ½ c sliced mushrooms
·         ½ pack ramen noodles
·         ¼ pack tofu
·         ¼ c canned white beans
·         ¼ c ground beef
·         ½ can spam
·         3 hot dogs or sausages (I used one smoked turkey sausage)
·         2 green onions, chopped
·         1 hot pepper, sliced (opt.)

·         6 c water
·         2-3 tsp fish sauce
·         Handful dried seaweed

·         2 Tbsp red pepper powder (gochugaru 고추가루)
·         1 Tbsp red pepper paste (gochujang 고추장)
·         1 Tbsp soy sauce
·         1 Tbsp minced garlic
·         1 Tbsp Mirin (sweet cooking wine)
·         ¼ tsp black pepper


Prepare a large pot with the broth ingredients: 6 cups water, a handful of dried seaweed and the fish sauce. Set that over high and wait for it to come to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes then remove the seaweed.

While waiting for the broth to boil, cover your rice cakes in cold water and let them soak.

Make the sauce in a small bowl by mixing together the red pepper powder, paste, garlic, soy sauce, mirin and pepper. Set aside.

Once the broth is ready, add in the following ingredients one at a time so that the dish is separated rather than all stirred together (you won’t be stirring this recipe much): sausages, onions, mushrooms, spam, kimchi, beans, tofu. Take the ground beef and place it in the middle. Sprinkle the rice cakes all over. Then pour the sauce over top of the ground beef.

Once the soup starts to boil, stir the sauce and ground beef. (If the ground beef is clumping into a big ball, just use some kitchen scissor to cut it into small pieces.) Cook on med-high for 10 minutes.

Place the noodles, hot pepper and green onions on top of the stew. Cook just until the noodles are done and remove from heat. 

Substitution ideas:

  • Rice cakes can just be left out, no biggie. 

  • Use your favorite type of sausage. I originally wanted one of those Hickory Farms beef sausages, but the Oscar Meyer smoked turkey was cheaper and healthier. It ended up being delicious.

  • Fish sauce: Aeri used an anchovy packet or real anchovies. I also recommend hon-dashi.

  • Mirin: I would try replacing it with a little water mixed with sugar, or just leave it out and add a bit sugar later if you need it.

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