Long before Roy Choi, Seoul Sausage or the millennial corn cheese craze was the original Korean/American hybrid. A post Korean war stew that was born out of scarcity, Budae Jiggae (budae = Army, Jiggae = stew) is a true hustler’s entree that appropriated surplus American ingredients left behind (think Spam, American cheese, hot dogs, etc.) with a rich base made from anchovy, kimchi and and one of the Korean secret weapons…gochujang.
I not only enjoy eating this dish but preparing it as well, and the thought of re-appropriating an appropriated recipe creates a cool American to Korean to American paradox. Fuck your authenticity.
Like most stews, Budae Jiggae is best cooked in large portions in the biggest pot you have to develop some real depth of flavor. Add in a few friends, a couple bottles of soju and Nelly’s “Country Grammar” and you have a recipe for a good Friday night.
When solo though, the thought of preparing a dish for eight people feels not only daunting, but excessive. I don’t want to spend 45 minutes preparing dinner for myself when all i want to do is curl up on the couch and cry to the soothing sounds of Pure Moods Volume 1.
A recent hack i started implementing when feeling lazy is to boil the soup base from Shin Ramyun with all my meat products and various accoutrements. Add noodles, cook until desired consistency, then finish with American cheese and various herbs. Add a fried egg if you trying to get your Bobby Flay on.
Not as deep or complex as what Grandma Kim makes but hey, what more do you want from a white boy? Literally takes all of 15 minutes. Schwing!