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Budae jjigae: The Korean one-pot stew that has everything but the kitchen sink

Budae jjigae: The Korean one-pot stew that has everything but the kitchen sink

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Admit it: In March we might have gone overboard and hoarded (out of panic) more food than we can consume. Those instant noodles you bought by the dozens, canned goods and cured meats are probably still there, along with your proud stack of toilet paper. 

Having gone through only half of your supply before realizing you can have food delivered for lunch, dinner and pretty much any meal of the day, you soon abandoned your March madness haul.

Now what to do with what’s left of it?

 

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Photography and graphic design duo Ryan and Garovs Vergara aka Everywhere We Shoot has the perfect recipe to “rid” you of those. Then again “rid” wouldn’t be the right word to describe the preparation that goes into making this Korean comfort food. Eating it doesn’t really feel like force feeding yourself like that time you experimented with how far you can push your appetite. It’s actually… good. 

Just ask the soldiers who are thought to have invented budae jjigae in the 1950s. According to popular belief, the stew came to be after the Korean war when the military decided to add surplus food into jjigae—yes, including Spam.

For Ryan and Garovs, the discovery came through Korean-obsessed friends. “Marie, Peach and Pat introduced us to everything we know about Korean pop culture, from Big Bang to kimchi. Pat taught us to cook this last year,” the couple said.

It took some time for them to master the recipe until it became some sort of tradition to them. “We used to surprise and be surprised by our friends with this on their birthdays, then later it turned into a random craving and a reason to hang out. The taste is so familiar to us that even the activity that comes with eating budae jjiggae makes us feel like we are eating with everyone.”


For this recipe, it might seem like just about anything you can find in your kitchen will do: ham, instant ramen, baked beans, tofu, cheese, hotdogs, and what have you. But really, it still has to have a semblance of coherence, thanks to the broth made with chicken stock, garlic, green onions, sesame oil and gochujang (red chili paste) or doenjang (soy bean paste).

After throwing in all the ingredients one after the other, it’s just a matter of cooking it all down and letting the broth do the rest.

 

Budae jjigae

Ingredients 

Garlic
Onion
Green onions
Tofu
Kimchi
Spam
Hotdogs
Korean rice cakes
Cheddar Cheese
Instant Ramen Noodles 

For the broth

Sesame oil
Water
Chicken stock
Gochujang
Instant ramen powder 

Procedure

  1. Slice everything into bite-sized pieces
  2. Mince garlic and roughly dice onions and green onions
  3. Assemble everything in a pot over medium heat
  4. Pour the ingredients for the broth then bring to a boil. Mix 
  5. Give it a few minutes to simmer. Add water as needed and mix
  6. When meats are cooked, add the noodles and cheese 
  7. Wait till noodles are cooked, add more cheese and condiments to taste. Enjoy!

 

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Writer: CHRISTIAN SAN JOSE

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