Budae Jjigae 부대찌개 (Korean Army Stew) Recipe

Use an anchovy and kombu-infused stock to cook the ultimate fusion stew, which features American ingredients introduced during the Korean War such as Spam, hot dogs, and canned tuna.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves: 4 to 6 
Prep time: 30 minutes 
Total time: 45 minutes 


for the stock:
1 (1-inch) piece Dashima (kombu)
½ cup|30 grams dried anchovies (choose larger ones for stock)
1 empty tea bag made for loose tea or a letter-sized cheese cloth (You can also use 1 pre-made stock pack in tea bags from a Korean grocery store instead of purchasing dashima, anchovies and tea bags separately.)


for the soup base:
2 tablespoons gochugaru
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons Yondu Original
1 tablespoon gochujang
1 tablespoon Korean soy sauce
4 turns (2 pinches) freshly ground black pepper

for the stew:
1 (12-ounce|340 gram) can SPAM, sliced into ½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small Spanish onion, minced
2 turns (pinch) freshly ground black pepper 
2 cups|310 grams Napa kimchi, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 hot dogs, sliced ¼-inch thick on a bias
1 (4-ounce|115-gram) can oil-packed tuna, drained
1 (1-pound|450-gram) block medium-firm tofu, drained and sliced into ½-inch pieces
½ cup|40 grams scallions, half cut into 1-inch pieces, half thinly sliced 
1 (4-ounce|115-gram) package Shin cup noodles
4 slices American cheese 
cooked rice, to serve


  1. Make the stock: In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups|1500 ml of water to a boil over high. Place the anchovies and dashima in a tea bag or cheesecloth and tie it up tight. Add to the water and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the stock is fragrant and has reduced to 4 cups|1 liter. Discard the tea bag and set the stock aside.
  2. Make the soup base: Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Make the stew: Heat a large saucepan over medium. Working in batches, brown the SPAM, flipping once, until golden, about 6 minutes. Set the SPAM aside. 
  4. Add the oil and onions to the saucepan and season with the black pepper. Cook until the onions are golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the kimchi and gently cook until the edges of the napa leaves are looking a bit more translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and the soup base and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the sauce is well incorporated into the stock, about 2 minutes. Add the SPAM, hot dogs, tuna, tofu, and 1-inch scallion pieces and simmer until warmed through, about 2 minutes more. 
  5. Add the noodles to the stew and cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Place the American cheese slices on top and allow them to melt, about 1 minute more. Garnish with the thinly sliced scallions and serve with rice. 

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