Budae chigae (Korean army base stew)

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 May, 2011, 12:00am


This dish was created during the Korean war, when hungry civilians took their own ingredients and mixed them with canned supplies given to them by the US army. The recipe is nebulous: I often include eggs (crack them into the simmering broth and poach for a couple of minutes before serving), add sliced Korean rice cakes and bean curd, use other types of cooked meat or substitute other vegetables, such as negi (Japanese leeks), Korean squash and leaf cabbage.

I only use Korean-made shin ramyun instant noodles, which are much better than those from China. The Korean brand is dearer and there is no English on the pack.

About 5ml cooking oil 1 small can luncheon meat (such as Spam), sliced about 5mm thick

6 small hot dogs or 2 large ones, cut on the diagonal into 1cm pieces

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 large red chillies, sliced on the diagonal into 1cm-thick pieces

1/2 a small onion, sliced about 3mm thick

1-2 heaped tsps of gochujang (Korean red chilli paste)

1/2 tsp gochugaru (Korean chilli powder) or to taste

100 grams cabbage kimchi, drained

1 pack Nong Shim shin ramyun (spicy Korean noodles)

4-6 thin slices of ham, cut in half

1/2 a pack of enoki mushrooms, the root ends trimmed off and discarded

Heat the oil in a soup pan and, when it's hot, lightly brown the luncheon meat and hot dogs.

Remove from the pan, add the garlic, onion and chillies and stir for about a minute. Stir in the gochujang and gochugaru, then put the hot dogs and luncheon meat back into the pan.

Add 800ml water, the kimchi and instant noodles, sprinkle the contents of the seasoning pack over the ingredients and stir.

Let the noodles soften in the liquid, then break up with chopsticks. Add more gochujang and gochugaru if needed.

Cover the pan, simmer for about two minutes, add the mushrooms and ham, and simmer for another minute and serve.