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Korean banchans are Korean side dishes served with rice. I almost enjoy eating the banchan more than the main dish. To me they are like Thanksgiving side dishes, which typically steal the show!
One Korean food side dish that is super easy, inexpensive, quick, and delicious is eomuk bokkeum, or Korean fish cake side dish. Lots of Korean restaurants serve this as banchan or a complimentary side dish to their patrons.
Here I am super excited to share with you a superb spicy version of this dish which you've GOT TO MAKE if you love Korean spicy food!
What Is Eomuk Bokkeum?
Eomuk means fish cake. A Korean fish cake is a processed food made by combining ground or pureed fish with other ingredients. The fish cakes that I used include surimi paste from hairtail fish, wheat, and soy bean. They are flat sheets, as you can see below.
Bokkeum involves stir frying a dish with a sauce.
So, eomuk bokkeum means fish cake stir fried with a sauce.
Our recipe involves stir frying pieces of thin sheets of fish cake with a lovely spicy sauce and some beautiful and colorful Korean peppers.
Now let me tell you what you will need for this beloved stir-fried dish in Korean cuisine!
Here are the ingredients you will need for this spicy fish cakes dish:
- Korean fish cake sheets
- Korean green chili peppers (can sub green bell peppers or even green onions)
- Korean red chili peppers (can sub red bell peppers)
- Olive oil (can sub vegetable oil)
- Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
- Soy sauce
- Mirin (can sub sugar)
- Sesame oil
- Sesame seeds
- Black pepper (optional add freshly ground to taste)
You should be able to find all of these ingredients at your local Asian grocery store or Korean grocery store.
I love beautiful Korean green and red peppers and my favorite way to make this dish involves using these peppers. However feel free to sub green and red bell peppers if you like. When deseeded, the Korean red and green peppers are not overly spicy, and that is how we will use them in this recipe.
Now let me show you how easy it is to make this popular side dish!
Prepare your fish cake sheets by cutting them into strips between ½"-1". Deseed the red and green chili peppers and remove the pith. Then slice the red and green peppers and onion thinly, and place this aside.
Make the sauce by combining the gochugaru (red pepper flakes), soy sauce, mirin, garlic, and sesame oil.
Place your wok or large skillet on medium high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onions and peppers and stir fry constantly for 1 minute.
Now add the fish cake slices and continue to stir fry constantly for 1 minute.
Time to add the spicy sauce! Once again, stir fry constantly for 1 minute.
Then take off the heat and garnish with sesame seeds and some freshly ground black pepper (optional) and your dish is ready to serve! At the end of stir frying your fish cake slices should be a beautiful golden brown.
Suggestions For Serving
This Korean stir-fried fish cake dish pair perfectly with some steamed rice and your favorite pair of chopsticks!
Serve this as a side dish to accompany your favorite Korean bbq or Korean main meal. This may just become your favorite banchan and one of your go to Korean recipes!
To make a non-spicy version of this dish, simply omit the Korean red pepper flakes or powder (gochugaru).
Koreans refer to fish cakes as both eomuk and odeng (borrowed from the Japanese). So eomuk bokkeum and ogeng bokkeum both refer to stir fried fish cakes with sauce.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator, and consume within two days.
Some Other Delicious Recipes You May Enjoy!
Here are some other Korean side dish recipes that you may enjoy:
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Spicy Korean Fish Cake Side Dish
- 1 Wok or large skillet
- 150 grams fish cake sheets sliced into ½" - 1" strips; the fish cake sheets I used are 6"x4" and 150 grams is 2.5 sheets
- ⅓ cup Korean green chili peppers deseeded, white pith removed and sliced thinly. You can sub green bell peppers or green onions
- ⅓ cup Korean red chili peppers deseeded, white pith removed and sliced thinly. You can sub red bell peppers
- ⅓ cup onion select a small onion and sliced thinly
- 2 ts olive oil
Spicy Sauce Ingredients
- 2 ts Korean red pepper flakes aka gochugaru
- 1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 ts mirin can sub ½ ts sugar
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1.5 ts sesame oil
- ½ ts sesame seeds
- black pepper optional; some freshly ground black pepper to taste is delightful!
- Prepare your fish cake sheets by cutting them into strips between ½"-1". Deseed the red and green peppers and remove the pith. Then slice the red and green peppers and onion thinly, and place this aside.
- Make the sauce by combining the gochugaru (red pepper flakes), soy sauce, mirin, garlic, and sesame oil.
- Place your wok or large skillet on medium high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onions and peppers and stir fry constantly for 1 minute.
- Now add the fish cake slices and continue to stir fry constantly for 1 minute.
- Time to add the spicy sauce! Once again, stir fry constantly for 1 minute.
- Then take off the heat and garnish with sesame seeds and some freshly ground black pepper (optional) and your dish is ready to serve!