Jjambbong (Korean-Chinese Spicy Noodle Soup)

Jjambbong (Korean-Chinese Spicy Noodle Soup)

Hyosun Ro

Ingredients

  •   12-14 ounces fresh jajangmyeon or udon noodles*
  • 1 tablespoon  vegetable or canola oil
  •   One 1-inch piece ginger, julienned
  • scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon  Korean chile pepper flakes (gochugaru), or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon  soy sauce
  • 3 ounces  fatty pork, sliced thinly
  • 1/4  onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2  carrot, sliced thinly into 2-inch lengths
  • 4 ounces  cabbage, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1/2  zucchini, sliced thinly into 2-inch lengths
  • dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced thinly (optional)
  •   Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups  chicken stock, anchovy broth, or water
  •   4-6 littleneck clams, cleaned
  •   4-6 mussels, cleaned and debearded
  •   4-6 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 ounces  cleaned squid, cut into bite-sized pieces**

This spicy red noodle soup, jjambbong (also spelled jjamppong), is one of the most popular Korean-Chinese dishes, alongside another noodle dish called jajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce). Adapted for Korean taste by early Chinese immigrants to Korea, Korean-Chinese cuisine (although called Chinese by Koreans) is a huge part of Korean food culture. Korean-Chinese restaurants are everywhere in Korea. Every Korean especially loves the two noodle dishes, jajangmyeon and jjambbong. Oftentimes, Koreans have a hard time choosing between the two when eating out.

You will find it surprisingly easy to make this popular bowl of noodle soup at home with easy-to-find ingredients. Restaurants use hand-pulled noodles (that are a tad chewy), but for home cooking you can find ready-made fresh noodles at Korean markets. Another option is to simply use spaghetti or linguini noodles. The soup is typically made with chicken stock for a rich flavor, but you can also use anchovy broth for a cleaner, lighter taste. This soup also incorporates pork, chile-infused oil, and various vegetables and seafood. 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!

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to boil. While making the soup, cook the noodles according to package directions and drain.

Heat a wok or a large pot over high heat. Add the oil, ginger, scallions, chile flakes, and soy sauce and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add the pork and stir-fry until the pork is almost cooked, about 2 minutes. Stir in the onion, carrot, cabbage, zucchini, and mushrooms, if using. Season lightly with salt, and cook until the vegetables are slightly softened, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock (or anchovy broth or water) and bring to a boil. Add the seafood starting with the clams, followed by the mussels, shrimp, and squid.

Return to a boil and cook until the shells have opened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place a serving of the noodles in a large soup bowl and ladle the soup on top. Serve immediately while piping hot.

Notes

*Note:  You can also use dried spaghetti or linguini noodles.

**Note: Don’t cut the squid too small since it shrinks a lot while cooking.

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