Enjoy a piping hot bowl of jjamppong when you're craving a spicy seafood noodle soup. Clams, squid, and shrimp are simmered in a spicy stew filled with vegetables and served with fresh noodles.
Jjamppong (Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup)
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 3x3 inch dried kelp piece
- ½ onion sliced
- 2 garlic cloves whole
- 2 tablespoons dried shrimp
- 10 dried anchovies
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 ounces pork loin thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot thinly sliced into 2-inch length
- ½ onion thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini thinly sliced into 2-inch length
- 6 green onions cut into 2-inch long pieces
- 3 cups napa cabbage chopped
- 1 leek cut in half and into 2 inch pieces
- 4 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 Thai chile pepper thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons Korean hot pepper flakes gochugaru
- 5 cups broth
- 4 ounces shrimp
- 4 ounces clams
- 4 ounces squid
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- black pepper
- 1 lb fresh noodles
- Prepare the broth by combining all ingredients for dashi in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the broth, discarding the mushrooms, anchovies, and other seasonings. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in large wok or pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced pork loin and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Add all of the vegetables including carrots, onion, zucchini, green onion, cabbage, leek, and mushrooms. Cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and Thai chile and saute for 30 seconds.
- Stir together sesame oil and hot pepper flakes in a small bowl. Add to cooked vegetables along with 5 cups of the broth and stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add shrimp, clams, and squid to the pot. Cover and let the seafood simmer gently in the broth, about 4-5 minutes or until the clam shells have opened and the squid is pink. Season with fish sauce, soy sauce, and black pepper. Adjust seasoning, adding more fish sauce and soy sauce if needed.
- Cook fresh noodles as directed on the package. Drain and portion noodles into 4 bowls and ladle soup on top with the seafood. Serve immediately.
Watch how to make this:
What is Jjamppong?
Jjampong is a popular Korean Chinese dish alongside jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk. This spicy seafood noodle soup has shrimp, clams or mussels, and squid with various vegetables 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.
- Dried kelp: Also known as konbu or dashima, the dried kelp adds umami to the seafood stock.
- Pork loin: For a richer stock, we're using pork loin to help build flavor. You can omit it if you prefer and keep it strictly seafood.
- Vegetables: I used carrot, leek, napa cabbage, zucchini, scallions, and mushrooms to help flavor the jjamppong. You can also use bok choy, green cabbage, bamboo shoots, or baby corn.
- Gochugaru: A type of red chili pepper powder made from Korean red chili peppers. Adjust the amount of gochugaru according to how spicy you like your soup.
- Thai chile pepper: Although not a typical ingredient in jjamppong, Thai chile adds another heat level. You can skip the Thai Chile if you prefer.
- Seafood: Mussels, clams, shrimp, and squid are usually the seafood served in this dish but you can also add oysters or a firm white fish such as cod.
- Fresh noodles: For the best results, use ready-made fresh noodles. You can also use dried noodles that are generally labeled for udon, not to be mistaken for the Japanese thick udon noodles. Alternatively, use spaghetti as another option.
How to Make Jjamppong
Step 1: Make Dashi
The first step in preparing jjamppong 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 of 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 long to impart more flavor to 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, also known as dashima or konbu, 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.
Step 2: Build the Base
While the broth is cooking, prepare all of the other ingredients for the jjamppong. 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 number 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.
Step 3: Add Seafood
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 jjamppong before but I fell in love with this soup. I served this dish to someone who had jjamppong 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 could 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 jjamppong is flavorful, it's still light enough for you to enjoy a nice big bowl and not feel heavy!
Can I increase the amount of seafood in this jjamppong?
Yes, absolutely! This recipe is versatile so you can add other seafood, increase the amount, or just go with one or two different proteins.
What if I don't want to serve the soup with noodles?
You can enjoy this dish with rice instead also known as jjamppong bap.
What is the best way to serve leftovers?
Although jjamppong is best served on the day it is prepared because of the seafood, you can reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat. Make fresh noodles when you are ready to enjoy for best results.
For more Korean food inspiration check out this dak kalguksu recipe!