Korean Army Stew Recipe

Serve This One-Pot Wonder At Any Time Throughout the Day with Unlimited Creativity and For All Ages

Korean army stew recipe is a great one-pot dinner with plenty of flexibility for size and ingredients. It's great for all occasions. Best of all, this version is family-friendly. Whether you are a spicy food lover or not, this is for you.

Korean Army Stew Recipe | Age and Family-Friendly Version

Total Time:
20 Minutes or Less
Prep Time
: ZERO   

Active Cook Time: 20 Minutes or less
Serving: 4-6

I watched plenty of videos about making Korean army stew recipe. I must admit that it made me drool every time. Since I stick with low carb diet, I can only “cheat” on Sunday night.

Of all videos I watched, I must say that majority of them served this dish bright and red. It’s super beautiful. But you know it’s hot. I rarely came across any Korean army stew with milder on that matter.

To make a family-friendly dinner, too much heat may not be for young children or elderly. So, this version of Korean army stew recipe will focus on how to make it flavorful and family-friendly, but still stick to its authenticity. Please note that there will be some heat and spiciness in this recipe, but it will be at a very reasonable level.

I know, I know. You do want to have that spiciness going on. Don’t worry, we will work on that front, too.

One Simple Cooking Method in Asian Cooking

Have you ever paid attention to the way of cooking every ingredient in all Korean army stew recipes?

There is literally no browning or cooking anything separately, but all in one pot.

This is a very popular way of cooking in Asia. If you love Chinese food, don’t let the American Chinese food fools you. Not everything needs to be browned or seared beforehand. Everything can be dumped into a boiling pot to boil or steam.

In other words, if you are not the picky eater that needs to have everything brown, this recipe opens a lot of doors of creativity for you and your family to make a one-pot meal. Best of all, it’s healthier.


What is Rice Cake?

Rice cake is almost a must in Korean army stew recipe. If you step into any Asian market, you may see different varieties and shapes. They are made in the same ingredients. The Korean one is about the thickness and length of an index finger.

You may see some sliced ones. Although they may pack into a Korean package, they are mainly for Chinese stir-fry. It is called 年糕. A very popular dish using this sliced rice cake is called Shanghai style stir-fried rice cake. 上海炒年糕 Other than rice cake, there is Bok Choi and sometimes with some minced pork and shiitake mushrooms going with that Chinese dish.

Korean rice cakeAuthentic Korean rice cake in the shape and thickness like your index finger.
Sliced rice cake used in Chinese dishes packed in Korean packageShape and size of slice rice cake mostly used in Chinese dishes, but in Korean package.

Authentic or Quick and Easy?

Both kinds of rice cake mentioned above are easily stuck together during the cooking process. However, the Korean style one takes longer to cook due to its shape and thickness. The sliced/Chinese one takes relatively shorter cook time. It's up to you which one you choose. Be open-minded.

Do You Really Need to Add Kimchi?

Kimchi is authentic Korean food which is almost a must ingredient. There is mild flavor out there which is not that hot. But I do understand that some people may not able to stomach that kind of spiciness and heat. If so, rinse the Kimchi with cold water before transferring into this one-pot meal.

Another solution is to add a pinch of sugar into the pot to neutralize the heat. Add more sugar if it is needed.

Be Creative

There are several ingredients very common in many Korean army stews:

  • Rice cake
  • Tofu 豆腐
  • Gochujang (Korean) chili paste
  • Gochugaru (Korean) chili powder
  • Instant noodles/ramen
  • Kimchi

As you know, this version I share is specifically to be less spicy and hot in order to be more age and family-friendly. So, we will use the very minimal amount of Korean chili paste and chili powder.

What can you add into the Korean army stew recipe?

The beauty of the Korean army stew is that you can add whatever ingredients you want and anything you have handy. You can even eliminate some typical/common ingredients from the list above.

Here are some additional and optional ingredients:

  • Hot dogs
  • Any precooked sausages, such as kielbasa
  • Any quick cooking vegetables, such as bean sprouts, iceberg lettuce, watercress, Bok Choi 白菜, kale, Choi Sum 菜芯 (aka Chinese broccoli)
  • Canned baked beans
  • Eggs
  • Slices of Cheese
  • Thinly sliced beef (you can buy shaved beef from the butcher counter)
  • Precooked meat (any leftover meat you have on hand)
  • Other Asian ingredients, such as fish cake 魚片, fish balls 魚丸 and so forth
  • Spam (sliced)
  • Potstickers 餃子 or Wonton 雲吞 (You can add the frozen ones into the pot with ramen at the same time. This will give enough time to cook them through. If they are fresh, add them in before adding instant ramen.)

As you can see, all ingredients you can entertain to add into this one-pot meal are quick cooking. Korean rice cake is the only ingredient taking the longest cook time among them all. So, in most cases, that ingredient stays in the cooking liquid from start to finish.

Amount of Liquid/Soup Matters

Since rice cake and other ingredients are very starchy, you will need plenty of liquid. Otherwise, the soup will be like glue. So, keep an eye on the liquid. Add more if needed.

Can You Freeze Rice Cake?

Some packages of rice cake are huge. Even a pound could be a bit too much considering you are going to add other ingredients into this one-pot meal. So, you will have some leftover as soon as you open that bag. What should you do?

I did freeze the rice cake after squeezing out as much air as I could from the bag. Since there is not much moisture, the chances of getting freezer burn is very low.

When you are planning to cook the rest of it, I highly recommend to leave the rice cake in room temperature for about an hour before cooking. This will prevent it from cracking up. It’s edible. Just presentation-wise, it doesn’t look too good.

Korean Army Stew Recipe and Instructions

6-8oz Korean Rice Cake
2 bags Instant Ramen Noodles (any flavor; to be family-friendly, pick the non-hot and spicy flavor)
8oz Kielbasa Sausage (sliced)
1 lb Extra Firm Tofu (sliced)
12oz Mild Korean Kimchi
7oz Fresh Bean Sprouts
6-8 Frozen Potstickers or Wonton
2 Scallions (chopped and optional; for garnish only)
6 cups Water (divided)


  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a big skillet; add 2 packs of soup seasoning from ramen noodles into the boiling water.
  2. Add rice cake (separate them while adding into the boiling broth so that they are not sticking together)Turn down to medium low heat and cover with lid; cook about 5 minutes.
  3. (Chop and drop) Add sliced kielbasa and sliced tofu. Cooking for another 4-5 minutes.
  4. Pay attention to water at this time. Add more if needed. Nestle ramen noodles in and frozen potstickers or wonton in. Let it cook for 2-3 minute and cover with lid. Use chopsticks to loosen the noodles so that they are all the way cooked through. 
  5. Add kimchi and juice on top. Cook another minute or so. Stir in bean sprouts for crunch. Garnish with scallions and enjoy immediately.

Exclusive For Hot Spicy Food Lovers

Korean army stew hot sauce

I know, I know. Spicy food lovers felt left out. But I am always about working around so that one meal can be shared and enjoyed with a big group. So, here is a quick spicy sauce to serve along the Korean army stew recipe that will make you super happy:

1 tbsp Gochugaru Chili Powder
1 tbsp Gochujang Chili Paste
1 tsp Chinese Light Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Sugar
2 tbsp Boiling Water (You can easily get this out of your pot before adding any ingredients in to make your Korean army stew.)

  1. Stir to combine everything and transfer to a small serving bowl. Serve this along with the Korean army stew. Let everyone to have the freedom to add or skip this chili sauce. (Yes, you can double the quantity.)

Korean Army Stew Recipe Steps with Photos

Several typical ingredients of Korean army stewSome very common ingredients used in Korean Amy Stew. You can switch up these ingredients, add more or eliminate some. There's no limit of it, but the sky.
Soup mix into the boiling waterAdd in soup mix into the boiling water for flavoring.
Rice cake in the boiling waterRice cake is always one of the first ingredients to go into the water because they take longer to cook.
Sliced kielbasaSliced hot dogs, Kielbasa or any cooked sausage is very typical in Korean Army Stew.
Rice sticks and kielbasa cookingNo browning on the sausage, hot dogs or kilebasa, but just adding into the same pot with the rice cake.
Tofu into the same potAdding tofu into the pot. Frozen dumplings can go in either at this step or the next one.
Adding ramen (aka instant noodles) the lastAdd ramen. You will need to look at the water in the pot. Add more if needed. Or, the water will turn into "glue".
Stir in KimchiStir in Kimchi.
Stir in bean sproutsStir in bean sprouts to keep the vegetable stay crunchy.
Garnish with scallions and ENJOY!Garnish with scallions and ENJOY!

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