Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)

Yields: 4 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 5 Mins Cook Time: 15 Mins Total Time: 20 Mins

Budae jjigae or Korean army stew is a popular hot pot dish in Korea (and the world). This stew is famous for three things: cheap, easy, and not particularly healthy (but who cares). The standard budae jjigae has many processed and non-perishable food items like Spam, sawdust sausages, baked beans, and plastic cheese. As the story goes, it was after the 1950s Korean war that this stew made its mark, as Koreans received lots of American processed food from US military bases.

You can put whatever you like in your vegan version of the budae jjigae! If you don’t like mock meat, you could do a full vegetable and mushroom pot. In my vegan budae jjigae, I used radish, soft tofu, tofu skin roll, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, and OmniMeat luncheon. If you can’t get OmniMeat luncheon or it’s out of your budget, you can make your own cheap Vegan Okara Spam Luncheon Meat.

The instant noodle I used is Paldo Kimchi Korean Noodle. While it is theoretically vegan, there is the usual debate about palm oil as an ingredient. So, proceed according to your heart. For those of you who cannot find a vegan kimchi instant noodle, I will include a recipe below for the flavouring of the soup.

You can also put a slice of vegan cheese on the top of the hot pot for maximum authenticity. My partner was grossed out about the idea so we didn’t have it. Although, I think it would be freaking amazing.

Budae jjigae is usually served with rice, so the number of servings indicated below are for 4. If you will be having this as a main, then it serves 2.

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0/20 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
  • Stew Ingredients
  • Toppings
  • Flavouring (If not using instant noodle spice packets)


0/6 Instructions
  • Slice all your ingredients nicely.
  • Add the sauce / instant noodle spice packets at the bottom, then fill the shallow pot with water. Add the stew ingredients. Over the top add the mirin/soju (optional), gochujang, and kimchi. Cover the pot and let boil.
  • In the meantime, panfry the luncheon meat.
  • Once the soup has boiled, make a hole in the middle and add the noodles, green chilli, and spring onions. If you like your spring onions very raw you can add them later.
  • Add the luncheon meat right at the end. Top with luncheon meat, sesame, spring onions, and cheese (optional).
  • Serve with rice or as a main!

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