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, and it’s one of the two most popular Korean-Chinese dishes alongside jajangmyeon (짜장면, 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 has become 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. Jjamppong is a similar dish but with a lot of red spiciness!
You don’t need to go to a Korean-Chinese restaurant to enjoy jajangmyeon and jjamppong. My jjajangmyeon recipe has been a reader’s favorite. Here, you’ll also find it surprisingly easy to make jjamppong at home with easy-to-find ingredients.
Both jajangmyeon and jjamppong use the same type of wheat noodles. Good restaurants use hand-pulled noodles, which are nicely chewy. For home cooking, you can find ready-made fresh noodles in the refrigerator section of Korean markets, or use dried noodles. These noodles are generally labeled for udon and jajangmyeon (우동 짜장면) or jungwhamyeon (중화면). Udon noodles for Korean-Chinese cooking are 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 to make a jjamppong soup
The soup base is typically made with chicken stock for a rich flavor, but you can also use anchovy broth for a lighter taste. I often make it simply with water, and it still tastes delicious.
The combination of pork, seafood, various vegetables, stir-fried in gochugaru infused oil, creates a hearty bowl of soup with robust flavors.
For the meat, pork is classic, but use beef if you prefer. Of course, you can omit the meat if you want.
The types of seafood used in this recipe are what you’ll find in jjamppong at Korean-Chinese restaurants: clams, mussels, shrimp, squid and sometimes oysters. Sometimes oysters are also added. But, it’s versatile! Use what you like or have.
There are 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 are great additions as well. You’ll only need a little bit of each vegetable for this recipe.
As always, the level of spiciness can be adjusted to your taste. You can increase or decrease the amount of gochugaru, or even add dried red chili peppers to increase the heat level.
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Jjamppong (spicy seafood noodle soup)Main Course
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 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and thinly sliced
- 2 scallions cut into 2 inch lengths
For the meat and seafood
- 3 ounces fatty pork thinly sliced
- 4 to 6 littleneck clams
- 4 to 6 mussels
- 4 to 6 shrimps
- 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
- 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean chili pepper flakes) Adjust to taste (1 T for milder soup)
- 1 tablespoon oil vegetable or canola
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- 5 cups 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 are cooked 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.