As the weather started to cool around here, I decided to update my jjamppong (짬뽕) recipe that was originally posted in April 2011. Jjamppong (also spelled jjambbong) is a spicy noodle soup, which is one of the two most popular Korean-Chinese dishes alongside jajangmyeon (noodles in a black bean sauce). Often times, Koreans have a hard time choosing between the two when eating out.
Korean-Chinese cuisine was developed by early Chinese immigrants in Korea, and is a huge part of Korean food culture. In Japan, a Chinese restaurant created Champon, a noodle dish loaded with pork, seafood and vegetables in a rich broth. Jjambbong is a similar dish but with lots of red spiciness!
You don’t need to go to a Korean-Chinese restaurant to enjoy jajangmyeon and jjambbong. My jjajangmyeon recipe has been a reader’s favorite. Here, you’ll also find it surprisingly easy to make this bowl of spicy noodle soup at home with easy-to-find ingredients.
Both jajangmyeon and jjambbong dishes use the same type of wheat noodles. Restaurants use hand-pulled noodles, which are nicely chewy, but for home cooking you can find ready made fresh noodles in the refrigerator section of Korean markets as well as dried noodles. They are generally labeled for udon/jajangmyeon (우동, 짜장면) or jungwhamyeon (중화면). Udon noodles for Korean-Chinese cooking is not the same as Japanese udon noodles, which are thicker and softer.
If you can’t find any of these, simply use spaghetti or linguine noodles.
How do you make the jjamppong soup?
The soup base is typically made with chicken stock for a rich flavor, but you can also use anchovy broth which gives a lighter taste. I often make it simply with water, and it still tastes delicious.
All the natural ingredients the soup is made with — pork, various vegetables and seafood — contribute to the soup’s robust flavors.
For the meat, pork is classic, but use beef if you want. Of course, you can omit the meat if you want.
The seafood in this recipe are what you’ll find in a jjambbong dish at a Korean-Chinese restaurants. They are clams, mussels, shrimp, and squid. But, it’s versatile! Use what you like or have.
There many options for vegetables! I used green cabbage, carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and scallions. Napa cabbage or bok choy will be a good substitute for green cabbage. Bamboo shoots and baby corns will be great additions as well. You’ll only need a little bit of each vegetables.
As always, the spicy level can be adjusted to your taste. You can increase/decrease gochugaru, or even add dried red chili peppers to increase the heat level.
Jjamppong (spicy seafood noodle soup)
Jjamppong is a popular Korean-Chinese noodle soup! It’s loaded with pork, seafood and vegetables! The combination of all the natural ingredients creates a hearty bowl of soup that is packed with robust flavors. The spiciness will surely clear your sinuses!
For the vegetables:
- 1/4 onion (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 small carrot (about 2 ounces, thinly sliced into 2-inch lengths)
- 1/2 zucchini (about 3 ounces, thinly sliced into 2-inch lengths)
- 3 ounces green cabbage (cut into 2-inch lengths (or napa cabbage or bok choy))
- 2 to 3 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or 2 soaked and thinly sliced)
- 2 scallions (cut into 2 inch lengths)
For the meat and seafood
- 3 ounces fatty pork (thinly sliced)
- 4 – 6 littleneck clams
- 4 – 6 mussels
- 4 – 6 shrimp
- 3 ounces squid (cut into bite sizes (Do not cut squids too small as they shrink a lot when cooked.))
- 1 teaspoon julienned or minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Korean chili pepper flakes (gochugaru (adjust for your liking))
- 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or canola)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- 5 cups of chicken stock (or anchovy broth or water)
- 2 servings (12 – 14 ounces fresh jajangmyeon/udon noodles)
Have a pot of water ready to cook the noodles. (Turn the heat on when you start cooking the soup ingredients. This way you can time it so that the noodles can be finished cooking at the same time the soup is ready.) While making the soup, cook the noodles according to the package instructions and drain.
- Prepare the vegetables.
- Prepare the pork and seafood.
- Heat a wok or a large pot over high heat. Add the oil, ginger, scallion, gochugaru and soy sauce and stir fry for a minute.
Add the pork and stir fry until the pork is almost cooked, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the onion, carrot, cabbage, zucchini and optional mushrooms, lightly salt, and cook until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the chicken stock (or anchovy broth/water) and boil until the vegetables are completely cooked.
- Add the seafood starting with the clams, which require more time to cook, followed by the mussels, shrimps and squid. Bring everything to a boil again and cook until the shells have opened. Salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the noodles, rinse in cold water, and drain.
- Place a serving of the noodles in a large soup bowl and ladle the soup on top. Serve immediately while piping hot.
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