Today I’m introducing you to jjamppong, a spicy noodle soup full of seafood, meat, and vegetables. As you see from the video, it’s made with a lot of different ingredients, which makes it a hearty, filling meal, served spicy steaming hot.
This is a Korean Chinese dish, developed by Chinese immigrants living in Incheon, Korea and adapted to Korean tastes. Jjamppong and jjajangmyeon (noodles with black bean sauce) are common dishes for Korean Chinese delivery. They are usually served in huge portions and both use the same noodles.
The key to this recipe is in the delicious, savory, anchovy and kelp stock. I learned this tip from the owner of a Korean grocery store when I lived in Columbia, Missouri many years ago. His wife was very kind, and one day when I stopped by the store she invited me to go into the back room where her husband was making jjamppong. I had never heard of anyone making jjamppong at home before, everyone orders it from Chinese restaurants. But he showed me how he made his stock, and in what order everything should be cooked, and for how long. He was a real gourmet and his jjamppong was delicious. I’ve used his recipe ever since.
Many years later, when writing the jjamppong recipe in my book Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking, I wanted to get a few details from him. I hadn’t talked to them for a long time, but looked up their store online and called them. She recognized my voice right away! But she was too busy with customers to talk much, so she asked me to call her in a few hours.
But I forgot to call her and eventually my book was published and life went on. Much later I remembered her and called her again. The number didn’t work anymore. I Googled the store and found her obituary in the local paper, she had passed away! Her husband must have retired, because their son took over the store. I feel sad about not calling her back!
I’m grateful that she invited me to have jjamppong that day, so now I can pass this recipe along to all of you. It’s a little modified from the one in my cookbook because I simplified a few things, but it’s still delicious! I hope you enjoy it!
1 ounce of large dried anchovies (about 24 anchovies) with the heads and guts removed
1 piece (about 6×6 inch) dried kelp
12 cups water
1 daepa (large green onion), or 4 green onions, cut into 2 inch length
2 ounces leek, washed and cut into ½ x 2 inch strips
4 ounces bok choy, washed
3 large cabbage leaves (about 3 ounces), cut into bite-size pieces
4 ounces onion, sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch strips
Seafoods and meat:
8 mussels, scrubbed, debearded, soaked in salted water for a few hours, and washed
4 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 ounces squid, just the body with guts removed and sliced into rings
24 small clams (optional), soaked in salted water for a few hours, and washed
4 ounces of thinly sliced beef (or pork or chicken), cut into bite-size pieces
Noodles and seasonings:
2 bunches (1 pound) fresh or frozen jjajangmyeon noodles, thawed if frozen, and uncoiled
5 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the water, anchovies, and kelp in a large pot. Cover, and cook over medium-high heat for 20 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 20 minutes.
Strain the stock and you will have 8 to 10 cups’ worth. Set aside.
Make the hot pepper flakes mixture:
Combine 2 tablespoons of hot pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a small bowl.
Mix with a spoon until well incorporated. Set aside.
Heat a large wok (or pot) over high heat. Add the vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, and stir about 20 seconds with a wooden spoon until the garlic starts to turn a little crispy.
Add the beef and stir until slightly cooked.
Clear a spot in the wok by pushing the garlic, ginger, and the meat to the side. Tilt the wok so that the excess vegetable oil slides into the cleared area. Put 3 tablespoons hot pepper flakes into the hot oil and stir and mix with the wooden spoon for about 1 minute, until it creates a smoky flavor but not long enough to burn. Then stir everything in the wok together into the hot oil.
Add green onion, leek, cabbage, and onion and stir for 3 to 4 minutes until the vegetables are wilted.
Add 6 cups stock and all the seafoods and bok choy. Cover and cook 7 to 8 minutes until the mussels and clams are open and the shrimp and squid are well cooked.
Stir in the fish sauce, salt, and the reserved hot pepper flakes mixture. Cover and let it simmer over low heat.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and stir a few times so that they don’t stick to each other.
Cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes until tender but still chewy.
Strain and rinse the noodles in cold running water to make them nice and chewy.
Put it together and serve:
Heat up the soup over high heat.
Divide the noodles into individual serving bowls. Add the soup over top and include cooked seafood, vegetables, meat over top of the noodles. Serve right away.