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Get your hands on Marion’s NEW cookbook, Just As Delicious. Order Now

Korean Army Stew


Also known as army base stew or budae jjigae, this recipe takes simple, basic ingredients and transforms them into a mouth-wateringly spicy dish. During harder times in Korea, many people would use processed meat supplies from US military bases to whip up this hearty stew, hence its name. I like to add tofu and mushrooms to my version to pump up the freshness.


Korean Army Stew

10 minutes
15 minutes

200g (7 oz) Spam, cut into thick slices

150g (5 oz) cocktail frankfurt sausages, thickly sliced

200g (7 oz) firm tofu, cut into roughly 3cm (just over 1”) cubes

½ cup kimchi, roughly chopped

100g (3.5 oz) shiitake mushrooms, cut into chunks

100g (3.5 oz) king oyster mushrooms, torn into chunks

100g (3.5 oz) enoki mushrooms, roughly torn

400g (14 oz) canned baked beans

1 packet instant ramen noodles

2 eggs

4 cups chicken stock

2 slices cheddar or Swiss cheese

4 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced


Spicy sauce:

2 tbsp gochugaru*

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp gochujang*

Step 1

To make the spicy sauce, place all ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Step 2

For the soup, arrange the Spam, sausages, tofu, kimchi, mushrooms and baked beans in a large shallow pot or frying pan (you’ll want one that has a lid). Open up the instant noodles and keep the seasoning sachet for another time. Nestle the uncooked instant noodles into the ingredients in the pan. Spoon the spicy sauce on top of the noodles. Use the back of the spoon to make 2 shallow spaces in the ingredients and crack the eggs into those holes.

Step 3

Carefully pour the stock into the corner of the pot (so you don’t disturb your beautifully placed ingredients).Turn the heat to high and bring the stock to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes to allow all the flavours to infuse. Now place the lid on top of the soup and cook for a further 4 minutes until the eggs are set.

Step 4

Remove the lid and top the sizzling soup with slices of cheese. Sprinkle over the spring onions.

Serve the soup at the table so everyone can ladle the soup and ingredients into individual bowls as they eat.

Note Icon


– Gochugaru are Korean red pepper chilli flakes. Find them online or from an Asian grocery store.

– Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste. It can be found in the Asian aisle at most supermarkets or order it online. If unavailable, simply leave it out of the recipe and add a teaspoon of sweet paprika for added colour and chilli flakes for additional spice.

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