Saturday, February 21, 2004

mmm... homemade budae jjigae

[UPDATE, 2/7/12: The latest incarnation of my favorite Korean stew is here.]


All the ingredients are laid out. We've got two kinds of mushrooms, the green veggie called ssukgat that looks a bit like spinach when cooked... we've got dubu (tofu), green onions, kimchi, a snapped-in-half serving of ramyeon (ramen), the requisite sliced hot dogs and spam that make budae jjigae what it is... and of course, a modest dollop of goch'u-jang, the hot red bean paste that gives so many jjigae (stews) their distinctive red color, and strikes fear in the hearts of Caucasian colons and assholes.

thesis... antithesis... synthesis


We begin the burn. FUCK, YEAH! The noodles are still coherent and harder than al dente; they're a good measure of how done your stew is. Ideally, the whole mess should be brought to a boil fairly quickly, then kept at that temperature a bit to soften any hard stuff (some versions of budae-jjigae include ddeok, a type of rice cake that can be very hard), and finally adjusted down to a gentle boil for a spell to allow flavors to mix. When the noodles look cooked, you're pretty much there. This isn't a hard stew to make. And for those who're wondering, my base was simply water, not broth. Broth made of chicken or pork or beef stock might actually be better, but the fatty spam and hot dogs will add their, uh, essence to the whole as they cook.

thesis... antithesis... synthesis

Those noodles look a bit like blanched cow brains in that pic, don't they. And let me anticipate a critique from the purists: NO, I DON'T LIKE BEANS IN MY JJIGAE. That's why they're absent.


The beauty that is budae-jjigae. Results will vary, but your final dish should look something like this. Regarding portions... the pan is probably 11-12 inches in diameter, so for normal human beings, that's enough stew for two folks, or maybe three really skinny people. But in the Hominid's dwelling, you're looking at a single goddamn serving.

thesis... antithesis... synthesis

Alas, no pictures of yours truly chowing down. I didn't want to horrify you.

NOTE: It's hard to talk about budae-jjigae without giving props to the KimcheeGI and his very educational blog, Budae Chigae. You've doubtless noticed the different spellings we have for this lovely stew-- that's not entirely our fault, because there are several ways to romanize Korean words, and what's worse is that many scholars and lay folks often end up creating their own idiosyncratic romanizations. Mount Sorak, for example, is also known as Mount Seolag-- and both spellings make sense so long as you know which style of romanization you're using (there are more than two, with McCune-Reischauer probably being the most famous, though Korea recently instituted its own revisions, which is why the southeastern port city is now called Busan, and not Pusan).

I spell it "budae-jjigae" because in Korean, "jjigae" is spelled with the Korean equivalent of a double-J. The double-J sound, in Korean, sounds a bit like the "J" in the expression, "Jump off!", if you say it with force. Charlie represents this sound with a "ch," which can be found, it seems, in other romanization systems.

However you spell budae-jjigae, the only important thing you need to know about it is that it revolts my mother. Although the stew dates back to the Korean War, Mom never grew up on this, having left Korea in the 1960s before budae became truly popular. Budae, as KimcheeGI's blog will inform you, means "boot camp," and may be a reference to the American GIs and the canned meats they gave the populace... or something like that.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who Knew: A Penguin Flew

Why yew dew same alt testies for all pics? NONOONONNO!

Bean leavin'



for Germany

at 5 p.m.