Army Stew is a great Korean dish to share with family and friends when you crave something spicy but with quick preparation and short cooking time.
What is Army Stew?
Army Stew or Budae jjigae (부대찌개) is a fusion dish that incorporates American processed meats such as spam, bacon, and hot dogs into a Korean stew, making it is effortless. As long as it has kimchi and some American processed meats, it is Korean Army Stew.
Army stew is a pretty popular Korean dish. In the centre of the table, you can see it bubbling away on a mobile burner in many Korean restaurants. The concept is that you sit around the stew, eat bits and pieces, drink, chat and chill out. It is terrific because the ingredients are comparatively cheap and is able to feed many individuals. It is ideal for home cooking because you can incorporate your favourite ingredients and customise it according to your palate.
History of Army Stew
Budae is a particular word for a Korean military base, but because of its history, budae jjigae is interpreted as “Army stew” or “Army base stew.” After the three-year-long Korean War that ended in 1953, meat was considered a rarity in the 1950s. The excess meat from the U.S. military camps were excellent source of food for Koreans to combat their food shortage.
In the town of Uijeongbu (의정부), about 12 miles northwest of Seoul, where the U.S. Army bases are located, a restaurant proprietor began making a stew with the meat supplied from the army base. Army Stew has grown enormously popular across Korea since then.
The stew contained nutritious protein, which was deficient among Koreans during those hard times. They combined the US canned meat with Korean flavour and produced it into a distinctive meal. Thus, they have made the first Korean-American fusion dish, which is Korean Army stew.
How to make Army Stew
The best part about making this delicious stew is that the preparation is easy – mostly involving cutting and slicing the ingredients. You can omit or substitute the main ingredients per your preference too.
Firstly, assemble the main ingredients (except for instant ramen noodles, rice cakes, green onion and cheese) in a shallow pot. Add the sauce in the middle of the ingredients. Pour the stock into the mixture from the corner of the pot. Close the lid and boil on medium-high heat until the stock starts to boil (about 8 minutes).
Then, add the remaining ingredients – instant ramen noodles, rice cakes, green onion and cheese into the pot and boil without the cover until the noodles are cooked (about 2 to 3 minute). Reduce the heat to low (if you’re cooking on a portable burner and sharing the food at the dining table). The final step, is to start dishing out soup, protein and vegetables into your bowl. You may enjoy the stew with steamed rice or with other Korean side dishes.
Where to find Army Stew in Malaysia
The majority of Korean restaurants in Malaysia serve Army Stew, such as Yoogane. Yoogane (Petaling Jaya) is an authentic Korean restaurant where you can enjoy delicious Army Stew. It tastes authentic and traditional because of the secret spices they use, and the addition of Korean Galbi truly makes this dish yummy.
Besides Yoogane, you are most welcome to order army stew at Seoul Garden Hot Pot (Kuala Lumpur) as they serve four versions of Army Stew – basic, chicken, beef and seafood. Also, it is Halal for Muslim friends that are interested to try it out.
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