Korean food/French food: Budae chigae/Cassoulet

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Budae chigae is a simmering stew containing white beans and meat, often containing sausages. It is known as, literally, the "Army Stew", for its historic origins. Back in the days during and after the Korean war, Koreans managed to get by with left over or handed out meat from the US Army base such as Spam, ham and sausages, and baked beans.

Budae chigae is easy to make. Just put whatever meat and vegetables are in hand. Spam, ham, sausages, and pork are favourites, cut in small chunks. Since this is a Korean dish, of course something spicy is welcome. Chilli paste and kimchi are usual additions, as well as baked beans and ramen noodles. Everything goes into a pot, enough water is added, and boiled then simmered.

While eating this with French colleagues for lunch, an interesting comparison was made between the Korean budae chigaes and French cassoulets.

Cassoulet is a famous country dish from the South West of France. A hearty winter stew, comprising of similar ingredients as the Korean budae chigae - white beans and meat, simmered in the same fashion.

Korea and France have totally different cultures, yet there are certain similarities to be found, such as this simple dish, with many variations on both sides, which portrays their popularities in their native countries. Budae chigae/Cassoulet is not the only example, either, as I will show you, another time!

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