Jjampong is a popular Korean Chinese dish alongside jja jjang myun and tangsuyuk. This spicy seafood noodle soup has shrimp, clams or mussels, and squid with a variety of vegetables all cooked in a homemade broth. Like many Korean foods, this dish looks much spicier than it really is so don’t be afraid! You can also adjust the spiciness according to your preference. Easy to make in less than an hour, this soup will warm you up on those cold chilly nights.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The first step in preparing jjampong is making the broth. I’ve seen people prepare this stew using chicken broth but since this is a seafood soup, I like to use a seafood broth. The base for this broth is similar to dashi with a couple added ingredients and no bonito flakes.
You can find dried anchovies at any Asian market. Dried anchovies are commonly used in Korean soups to build the foundation for the broth. When purchasing the item, look for anchovies that are about 2-3 inches long and have clean shiny skins. You can buy them in bulk and store them in the freezer for future use. You want to have anchovies that are at least 2 inches to impart more flavor into the broth. Make sure to clean out the guts, the black section near the head as the guts can impart a sour taste.
Dried kelp is as known as dashima and is another common ingredient used in making anchovy stock. Dried dashima comes as long sheets with white powder on the surface and can be stored in a cool dry place for several months.
Add all of the ingredients for the stock in one pot and boil uncovered, to release any of the strong fishy quality from the anchovies. You want to cook the broth for only 20 minutes to hold onto the delicate flavor clarity of the liquid.
While the broth is cooking, prepare all of the other ingredients for the jjambong. This seafood noodle soup can be a bit flexible on the vegetables. You can eliminate the zucchini and mushrooms, use wood ear mushrooms, or even add bamboo shoots.
Saute the pork then add all of the vegetables and aromatics including the garlic, ginger, and Thai chile. Add the prepared broth along with the seasonings and bring the soup to a boil. If you are more sensitive to heat, reduce the amount of red chili flakes. You want to use gochugaru and not red chili flakes because gochugaru is a combination of smoky, spicy, and even a little sweet whereas the American chili flakes are just spicy.
Once the soup is nice and flavorful, add the seafood. Seafood cooks very quickly so keep an eye on the pot. Once the clams open and the shrimp turn pink, the soup is ready.
I am ashamed to say that I never had jjampong before but I fell in love with this soup. I served this dish to someone who had jjampong many times before and he commented that it was even better than the ones served at restaurants! He noticed that my version was not as oily as others can be but still had great flavor. The broth was slightly sweet from the shrimp but still delicate. The high quality of the seafood used in the soup was evident as everything tasted very fresh. Even though this jjampong is flavorful, it’s still light enough for you to enjoy a nice big bowl and not feel heavy!
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