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2 Dollar Stew (But Cheaper)

This is perhaps the greatest cheap homemade soup/stew you will ever eat in your life. It's incredibly simple, can be made in a typical...

This is perhaps the greatest cheap homemade soup/stew you will ever eat in your life. It's incredibly simple, can be made in a typical college dorm room, and is done in just a few minutes. All thanks to the classic Budae Jjigae!




  • 2 Tbsp (30g) gochujang

  • 2.5 tsp (10g) gochugaru *optional*

  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) soy sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic minced

  • 2 tsp (10g) sugar

  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) distilled vinegar


  • 3 cups (700ml) chicken stock

  • 1.5 cups (350ml) water

  • 2 oz (55g) dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 1/2 lb (225g) button mushrooms, thinly sliced

  • 3/4 cup (125g) chopped kimchi

  • 1 can spam

  • 1/2 lb (225g) smoked sausage

  • 2 packs ramen noodles

  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 slices american cheese



  1. For sauce, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. In a large bowl, add in mushrooms and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 12 minutes.

  3. Remove from the liquid and ring out all liquid. Remove the mushrooms stems, slice evenly, and set to the side.

  4. Slice spam and sausage into even pieces.

  5. Heat a large pot over medium heat until hot. Sear spam and sausage (separately) for 2-3 per side.

  6. Add oil to pan if needed. Reduce pan to medium and add in sliced green onions, sliced button mushrooms and saute for 1-2 minutes.

  7. Add chopped kimchi in and stir to combine. Saute for another minute.

  8. Add the sauce in once the mushrooms begin to soften. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

  9. Add the chicken stock and mushroom stock and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

  10. Immediately reduce to low once boiling. Let simmer for 2 minutes.

  11. While simmering, gently add in the ramen noodles. Press down to submerge and cover with a lid and cook 3-4 minutes.

  12. Once noodles are finished cooking, add in the seared spam and sausage, shiitake mushrooms, and topped with two slices of american cheese. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes.

  13. Top with green onions and serve immediately.


Sherry Snow
Sherry Snow
Oct 13, 2021

Can any other sliced cheese be used? And can it be canned ham instead of spam?

Ryan C
Ryan C
Feb 10, 2022
Replying to

So the recipe in Korea definitely suggests Spam, because it's pretty prolific there. However, I don't see any reason you couldn't substitute. The term, "budae", means "Unit" in Korean. As in military unit. The etymology is that soldiers would just grab everything they could, throw it into a stew pot, cook it and eat. So the most common ingredients made it in to the "standard" version. Even today, ordering Budae Jjigae from different restaurants in Seoul will serve you quite different interpretations, with most sharing some a lot of the same ingredients - which you pretty much find here in this recipe.


Wesley The Writer
Wesley The Writer
Jun 04, 2021

This came out great! Thanks, Joshua! Should I have soaked the shiitake mushrooms longer? They were a little chewy.

Xavier Marchena
Xavier Marchena
Jun 18, 2021
Replying to

I left mine soaking as I prepped everything else. It was more than 12 minutes,bit it still came out great.


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