Taking these stress breaks by cooking have been very good for me, therapeutic even. My Instagram feed is filled with my latest shenanigans and I have to say that the process of creating something helps me clear my mind.
A bit of history for you that I learned about this dish, Budae Jjigae, literally translates to Army Base Stew and some of the most signature ingredients in this stew is American Spam, hot dogs, kimchi and instant noodles. The reason for the seemingly random array of ingredients is that it was a recipe that developed during the Korean war. With the American rations being one of the more available ingredients, they made a stew with it.
I modified this recipe quite a bit actually, which is why I’d rather just call it a Winter Korean Stew than anything specific as it uses some techniques that is not often seen in Korean cooking. Something I discovered that works really well with this stew is browning your meat before throwing it into your stew. Not very conventional to Korean cooking, but hey, flavour trumps tradition.
The beautiful thing about this stew recipe is that it is quite healthy for you with the different vegetables going in and it is incredibly forgiving in terms of what ingredients you’d like to add. Once you have the broth down, you can add nearly any ingredient that you like into it.
How do I know this stew is awesome? 1. Brother who normally doesn’t eat Korean stews and in fact hates most of them, finds mine tolerable. Win. 2. Mother who normally does not want to try any of my experiments in the kitchen not only had some stew, but liked it as well. WIN!
Did you know that Kimchi is incredibly healthy for you? It helps with digestion, your cholesterol, a super-packed source of antioxidants and the list continues. I have a bucket of this stuff at home and used a healthy portion in this stew so all you health nuts should be happy too.
Alright! Let’s get to the recipe!
- 2 tablespoons of gochujang -marinade
- Juice of 1 lemon -marinade
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce -marinade
- 4 tablespoons of water or enough that the marinade covers all of your meat -marinade
- 2 lb of Pork Shoulder, bone-in cut into 1-inch pieces -Broth
- 12 Dried Anchovies with intestines removed (My suggestion is to find in Korean Supermarket) -Broth
- 2 5”x6” pieces of dried Kelp (My suggestion is to find in Korean Supermarket) -Broth
- 2-3 large dried shiitake mushrooms or 5-6 smaller ones -Broth
- 10 cups of water -Broth
- 1 ½ tablespoons of gochujang or red pepper paste (find in Asian supermarket) -Seasoning Paste
- 2 ½ tablespoons of red pepper flakes (find in Asian supermarket) - Seasoning Paste
- 8-10 cloves of minced garlic –Seasoning Paste
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce –Seasoning Paste
- 2 tablespoons of water – Seasoning Paste
- 3 teaspoons of salt - Stew
- 3 teaspoons of dried chicken stock seasoning - Stew
- 3-4 stalks of green onion cut into 2 inch pieces - Stew
- 1 ½ cup of chopped kimchi - Stew
- 8 Coriander Stems, cut into 1-inch pieces – Stew
- 1 pack of tofu (I used the semi-firm one) cut into 2 inch cubes – Stew
- 1 Onion Sliced – Stew
- 2 cups of freshly cut cabbage - Stew
- Prep Ingredients beforehand. Description of what needs to be done is with the ingredient list above.
- Now this is an optional step but one I highly recommend which is to marinate your meat a day before use. This requires you to create your marinade by combining the gochujang, soy sauce, water and juice of a lemon and adding it to your meat in a big re-sealable bag. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
- Brown your meat by bringing up your stew pot to a high heat, add oil and sear all sides of the meat. DO NOT USE Olive Oil. Your goal is to get all the sides brown, not to cook the meat through. You may need to do it in a few batches but make sure to not scrape off the browning at the bottom of your pan as it will be your flavour to the broth.
- Once all the meat is browned and back into the pot, pour in 10 cups of water. Throw in your dried kelp, shiitake mushrooms and anchovies (use a strainer if you have one to keep anchovy bits from floating around). Bring up to a boil and allow to simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes.
- Taste the broth and season with about 3 teaspoons of salt. You can adjust this step to your tastes.
- Strain out the Kelp, Mushrooms and Pork. Dispose of the anchovy bits. Thinly slice the Kelp and Mushrooms and put it back into the broth.
- Allow the broth to cool for at least two hours of which you’ll want to scoop off the excess oil and protein foam that floats on the top.
- Prepare your seasoning paste of gochujang, garlic, soy sauce and water and mix.
- In a separate pot for the actual stew, put in the chopped cabbage, cooked pork shoulder, kimchi, onion, coriander stems, green onion and tofu. Throw in the seasoning paste at the top.
- With a ladle, pour in the broth (with all the bits of kelp and mushrooms) into the stew pot until it is close to the top.
- Bring the stew to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until the cabbage is at the desired texture.
- Taste the broth and add any additional salt or pepper as needed and add in the dried chicken stock.
- Serve in large bowls with a side of rice and done!
Until we dine again,
-The Piquey Eater