Friday, February 26, 2010

Budae Jigae

I finally got around to trying this Budae Jigae recipe. I will disclose that it is more time consuming than I thought it would be, but the end result was well worth the effort. I highly suggest taking the time to do the prep work before like making the beef stock and cutting up the ingredients. If you're organized, it's way easier. I just tried to wing it, which caused some havoc in the kitchen.

Budae Jigae (Military Stew)

beef stock
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of whole peppercorn
about 6 to 10 cups of water*
1 pound of brisket
white tops of 6 green onions
* I use the leftover brisket to make jangjorim so I used more water to begin and used the remaining stock for the jangjorim

marinated beef & pork
1/2 pound of any combination of sliced beef and pork
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
ground black pepper

spicy paste mixture
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of red pepper paste
2 tablespoons of Korean red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce for soup
spoonfuls of beef broth to thin out paste

about 6 cups of beef broth
spicy paste mixture
marinated beef and pork
1/4 of block of tofu
1/2 can of Spam
1 hot dog
1 cup of rice cakes
1 bunch of ssukgat (쑥갓) otherwise known as garland chrysanthemum leaves
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cup of ripe kimchi
green part of 3 green onions
1 package of ramen noodles
boiling hot water to rinse spam and hot dog

You can prepare the stock in advance. Cut the brisket into big square pieces and set aside. Boil 6 to 10 cups of water, put in 1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns, 5 cloves of garlic, the tops of 6 green onions and bring to a boil with the lid open.

Once it starts boiling, put in the beef and then close the lid, lower heat to low and let it simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Skim off foam as necessary. Remove the brisket and strain the other ingredients and set aside the clear beef broth for the stew.

Prep the ingredients. Peel and slice the onions. Cut tofu into small pieces. Wash the rice cakes in water so they don't stick to each other.

Cut the spam and hot dog into small pieces.

Bring some water to boil and pour the hot water over the spam and hot dog to drain some excess fat and oil.

You will also need some kimchi.

A package of ramen and some ssukgat (쑥갓).

I just took 1/2 pound of pork and beef that I had in the freezer and marinated it. I'm sure any combination of the two is fine. Add the soy sauce, vegetable oil, minced garlic and ground black pepper to pork and beef and let is marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.

To prepare the spicy paste mixture, mix together the red pepper paste, red chili flakes, minced garlic, garlic powder and soy sauce. Put a couple spoonfuls of the beef stock to thin out the mixture. Set aside.

In a wide saute pan or flat wok, add about 6 cups of beef broth. Add the spam and hot dog and bring to a boil. Next, add the beef and pork mixture, sliced onions, kimchi, tofu and spicy paste mixture. Let it cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the ramen and rice cake pieces.

Once the ramen and rice cake pieces have cooked through and the stew has thickened, add some green onions and ssukgat.

Here's the masterpiece. Papa Choi stared at this for quite some time before eating it. He was like, why are you feeding me ramen for dinner? Can you believe he's never had Budae Jigae before? Sometimes I wonder if he really grew up in Korea. Even though he gave it a disapproving look when he first saw it, he ended up eating the whole thing. Oh, yes he did! The coveted seal of approval from Papa Choi. Eating this is like digging through a treasure chest; you never know what you will find. Maybe a spam here, a piece of rice cake there, nestled amongst the tangled web of chewy ramen noodles. It's like finding a surprise in every bite.

I didn't know making budae jigae would take so much work because when you have it at a restaurant, they just throw the pot in front of you and you just watch it cook. The prep work takes a bit of time, but the actual cooking time is less than 20 minutes. I think next time I'll just make an extra batch of the broth and freeze it and make some extra spicy paste mixture and just have it on hand so I can throw together whatever ingredients I have in the fridge and make it.


  1. so you made me SO HUNGRY for budae jigae.. so i bought the ingredients and james yelled at me saying this is so UNHEALTHY. but he still ate it! :)

  2. Sounds like James had the same reaction as papa choi haha. Wasn't it yummy?