Watch the video above to see how I made a vegan version of budaejjigae (Korean Army Base Stew) and see the written recipe below!
Korean Army Base Stew, aka Budaejjigae, is a very popular Korean dish that is usually served in bars. While it might sound strange to Westerners to serve a stew in a bar, this is actually quite a common practice in Korea. Korean bars are very different from Western style bars in that people generally sit at a table full of food and booze rather than standing around. Eating while drinking is the norm and there is even a term in Korea to describe the food that is served alongside alcohol – “anju”.
So budaejjigae is a very popular “anju” in Korea and (according to Wikipedia) the dish was created shortly after the Korean war, using the scrounged or smuggled surplus foods from the US Army bases – hence the term “army base stew”. It’s basically a mixture of a number of different American ingredients with very traditional Korean flavours.
The traditional budaejjigae contains things like American hot dogs, spam, minced meat, etc. hence, it is not vegan. But of course, we can easily veganize this delicious dish. All I had to do is replace just a few ingredients with the vegan alternative… and that’s it! It’s so simple. And believe me, it is SO delicious.
And the beauty of this is that you can add or omit any of the ingredients. The options are endless! you could add in your favourite vegetables, some more noodles, maybe some more rice cakes, dumplings…whatever you please. Some budaejjigae recipes I’ve seen actually even include baked beans. I told you it’s random! So feel free to play around with the ingredients and make it your own. As long as you have the broth & sauce down, you can really do whatever you please.
I recommend sharing this dish with friends and/or family. It’s basically like the Korean version of hot pot! OR you can make this and eat with me (watch the video of me eating while eating, so it kinda feels like we are eating together…)….
Not sure if you noticed but I was SUPER HUNGRY and I didn’t get a proper photo of the food… I think you can see how much I’m enjoying it though…
Oh and I also drank some soju whilst eating, like the true Korean that I am!
Vegan Budaejjigae (Korean Army Base Stew) Recipe
Serves approx. 2
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp kelp powder
- Other flavourings like veggie broth powder or mushroom if you wish – I kept mine simple.
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder (or add minced garlic)
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) – add less or more depending on spice tolerance
- 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
- 3 tbsp hot water (or kelp broth)
Note: these are simply suggestions and what I decided to add into my stew – the beauty of budaejjigae is that the contents are very random so you can feel free to add or omit anything. Be creative!
- 1/2 cup fermented vegan kimchi
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 bunch enoki mushrooms, washed & roots cut off
- 1 cup king oyster mushrooms, washed & chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1-2 vegan sausages, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 green onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1/4 package medium-firm or soft tofu, sliced
- 1/3 cup Korean rice cakes
- 1/2 package of instant ramen noodles