Sunday, October 14, 2007

budae-jjigae: BLOGGED

UPDATE, February 26, 2010: Go here for my newest version of the budae-jjigae recipe.

UPDATE, December 31, 2011: recent photos of jjigae cooked earlier in December here.

I suppose you could consider this post a sequel to the post I had done way back when I lived in that nasty, drafty place in Jangui-dong. I don't think my jjigae-making skills have improved much since the bad old days, but at least I have a better camera now. What follows is the saga of my Sunday budae.

I'm a big eater, but it should be pretty obvious that not even I can eat all the food you see below:

Above, you see the main ingredients for my budae-jjigae: gochu-jang (red bean paste), spam, hot dogs, ground beef, beans, minari (I have no idea what this is in English; it's the green vegetable on the far left), green onions, ddeok, tofu, red chili peppers, kimchi, garlic, and three kinds of mushrooms. Not shown: regular onions (yang-p'a in Korean).

Below, you see a more reasonably sized meal for one large Kevin, with the ingredients laid out more neatly:

I packed up everything I didn't need. The above ingredients didn't have much of a chance to get to know each other, because they went into the pan right quick. (By the way, that nasty brown liquid is basically water with onion powder and some spices in it.)

Here's the gang, decked out in their Sunday best:

The above photo makes for great desktop wallpaper for your monitor (only in the computer age can you put wallpaper on a desktop).

Below, we see what happens when the water is added.

Whoops-- forgot to add something. See below:

I used to be dead set against beans in my budae, but I've gotten used to them. I added a large spoonful of beans when I realized I'd forgotten them in the previous picture.

Below, the boiling begins. As you can see, there's been a bit of stirring going on.

Next, and deliberately late in the game, we add the ramyeon. Like a lot of expats (and some Koreans), I prefer my ramyeon al dente.

And finally, you see the happy result:

I ended up using Korean hot dogs, which was a bit sad, but the fault is entirely mine: I had eaten the last of my Gwaltney dogs a couple days earlier, and didn't want to bother with schlepping over to Hannam to buy more. The ground beef is Australia's finest, and the spam is True Spam, albeit from a Chuseok gift set given to me by my buddy Tom, who isn't into spam.

And that's the story of today's budae.



Anonymous said...

According to the Naver encyclopedia, minari is "dropwort." I love how stuff that Koreans eat on a regular basis sounds like crap in English (like ssuk, for example, which is mugwort... there are a lot of worts, now that I think about it).

I was surprised to see onions in the mix. Ground beef as well. It's been ages since I've had budae-jjigae, but I don't remember it having ground beef. Is this a Kevin-ism, or is my memory just faulty?

Kevin Kim said...

I got a dose of "-wort" endings while rereading Watership Down recently. It's a story about rabbits, and it's chock full of plant names.

re: ground beef

Yeah, many of the Korean places stick ground beef in their budae. Tom and I often order it for lunch from the local Baeggop Shigyae (yes: navel clock, or something), and it comes with thinly sliced hot dogs, strips of spam, and bits of burger.


Jelly said...

Was it yummy? Was it the yummiest budae-get-jigyy-with-it ever??

Dig said...


Adam said...

Damn, that looks good. I'm going to have to try and make some...

Kevin Kim said...


Quite good. Would have been even better had I added Gwaltney franks instead of the Korean dogs. The Korean dogs weren't bad, but they weren't up to snuff.


Good luck, man. As you see, it's not hard to make. I don't know how it goes with Japanese stews, but Korean stews aren't like Western stews: they don't require a long cooking time, and it's not as much about combining flavors; Korean stews usually have distinct ingredients whose flavors leap out but are held in check by the all-dominating base (usually some sort of red pepper, but occasionally something else, like dwaenjang paste, which is, I think, a close cousin of miso).

Some budae purists (hard to believe such people exist, given the inherently low-rent nature of the food we're talking about) insist that the broth needs to have some sort of bean as its base. The bean is mixed in powdered form with water, and the resulting color looks a lot like the above pic of the onion water (Jelly might appreciate the onion juice- har har).

But many of my students, when asked to describe how they make their budae-jjigae, say they simply use good old water, letting the ingredients do the rest.

I'd recommend going easy on the garlic. That's what I did this time around, and things turned out fine.


Unknown said...

My wife made some out-of-this-world budae-jiggae about a month ago and after looking at those pics, I do believe it's time for another round at the Nomad residence. Damn that looks good!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Watership Down. That's something else I haven't seen in quite a while.

Makes me want to sit down to a nice bowl (pot, cauldron?) of budae-jjigae and read a book.