This Korean Chinese Spicy Noodle Soup is savoury, spicy, and packed with umami flavours. It’s the real deal vegan jjamppong recipe. Make a bowl of this and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a Korean Chinese restaurant!
- 8 cups water
- 2 4×4” pieces kombu (dried kelp)
VEGETABLE & TOFU PREP
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 4 shiitake mushrooms 50g, thinly sliced
- ½ medium carrot 65g, julienned
- ¼ small head green cabbage or savoy cabbage or napa cabbage 120g, thinly sliced
- 2-3 baby bok choys 120g, cut into bite size pieces
- Handful mung bean sprouts 70g
- 220 g extra firm tofu, cut into bite size strips
FOR THE SOUP
- 3-4 tablespoons neutral oil, use more if needed
- 2 tablespoons fine gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder fine ground), to taste
- 1 tablespoon coarse gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder coarse ground), to taste
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons mushroom seasoning
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Salt, to taste
- 3 portions fresh kalguksu noodles aka fresh knife-cut noodles
PREPARING THE KOMBU DASHI
- Clean the kombu with a damp cloth or damp paper towel to gently remove any debris. Do not wash under water because you don’t want to wash off the umami flavor on the surface. Soak the kombu in 8 cups of water for at least 30 minutes or overnight (for a deeper flavor), and set aside.
PREPARING THE SOUP
- Chop all the vegetables and tofu according to the instructions above in the ingredients list, and set aside.
- Prepare all the stir fry ingredients and set aside. The key is to have all your ingredients ready and available at hand before the stir frying begins because things will move very quickly once the fire is on.
- Heat a well-seasoned, large wok or a large, deep non-stick pan over high heat with about 2 tablespoons of oil. Add tofu and stir fry until golden. Once the tofu is golden, add mushrooms and stir fry until the mushrooms are golden.
- Move the tofu and mushrooms off to one side of the pan. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the other side and add minced ginger. Stir fry the ginger in oil for about 15 seconds to infuse the oil with the ginger flavor. Add carrots and cabbage and stir fry everything together for about 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle over all of the gochugaru and smoked paprika. Stir fry for about 15 seconds. Add tamari or soy sauce around the pan and stir fry for another 10 seconds, then quickly pour in the kombu dashi along with the kelp. (If you soaked the kombu dashi overnight, then only pour the liquid and discard the kelp.) Turn the heat down to medium heat. Add mushroom seasoning, rice vinegar, and black pepper. Remove the kelp just before the water comes to a boil. When you start to see tiny bubbles forming on the surface, take the kelp out. You don’t want to boil the kelp as it can lose some of its umami flavor from overheating. Simmer the soup for about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the noodles.
- Once the soup has been simmering for about 15-20 minutes, stir in bok choy and mung bean sprouts. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season the soup to taste with salt. Ladle the soup over the noodles and serve immediately.
COOKING THE NOODLES
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. The water should be salted to taste like the sea; this way it can season the noodles from the inside out. Cook the noodles for about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions for a chewy, al dente texture. Drain the cooked noodles, and rinse them quickly to wash off any excess starches and to stop them from cooking. Portion the noodles into bowls.