One thing I love about Korean restaurants is their banchan (complimentary side dishes). It doesn’t matter whether you go for Korean BBQ, tofu stew, bibimbap (mixed rice in hot stone pot), or beef stew, there are always banchan. Every place serves different banchan, but kimchi is always a must. A few common banchan (in US Korean restaurants) are bean sprouts, potato salad, fish cake, japchae, and picked daikon. They are always delicious and offer different kind of flavors (sweet, sour, spicy, creamy) along with your meal.
Two months ago, when my parents were in town, my sister took us to a Korean beef stew place. One of the banchan was this sweet and savory stir-fried fish cake. We all loved it so much that we got 2 refills (you can always ask for refill when it comes to banchan). Since then, I was on a mission to figure out how to make it at home. It is unbelievably easy!
Fish cakes are very ordinary in Asian cuisine. They are made from a blend of fish, flour, seasoning and sometimes, other seafood, like shrimp and squid. Chop everything finely and knead the mixture together. Form into desired shapes, then fry or boil. They come in all form of shapes, texture and tastes. They are savory with a hint of sweetness. They are often served in soup, with noodles or as snack. This specify fish cakes that I used in this recipe were shaped in thin sheets. These are the ones they used in Korean restaurants. You can get them in Korean supermarkets or some Chinese supermarkets. Some sell them frozen and some sell them in the fridge. If your fish cakes come in frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight.
To make this stir-fried fish cake, you first need to blanch the fish cakes in hot boiling water. This will get rid of excess oil from previously frying and help to soften the fish cakes. Cut the fish cakes into thin strips and stir fry with the slightly soften onion and carrot. Then add that incredible sauce with garlic and ginger. Let the fish cakes soak up all those flavors. And, that is it. All done! Serve them warm or at room temperature along with some bulgogi, Korean marinated short ribs, kimchi or just steamed rice. Sooooo delicious!
Eomuk Bokkeum (Korean Stir-Fried Fish Cake)
2 – 4 servings
– 2 sheets eomuk (fish cake)
– ¼ onion (thinly sliced)
– ½ carrot (cut into 1/8-inch thin strips)
– ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
– 1 tablespoon soy sauce
– 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon rice wine
– 2 garlic cloves (minced)
– 1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
– ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Mix well.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the sheets of eomuk and cook for 30 seconds. Drain and cool. Once they are cool, cut the eomuk into ½-inch strips.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm ½ tablespoon vegetable oil. Add onion and carrot. Saute until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the fish cake and stir for another 2 minutes. Add the sauce, mix well and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Emouk can be bought from Korean supermarkets. It comes in a pack of 4 sheets. I usually use 2 and freeze the other 2 for next use.
- For the rice wine, I used sake.
- Bryan and I love these fish cake, so we can finish them without a problem. Normally, this can serve 4 people as side dish.
- This dish can either be a side dish or a main dish when serving with rice. You may want to double the recipe when making this as a main dish.