Recipes

Fish cakes

Eomuk 어묵

Hi everybody! Today I’m very happy to show you my recipe for homemade fish cake, called eomuk in Korean.

I had never made eomuk before I started working on this recipe. All my life I was satisfied to buy it premade or from a street cart in Korea. I always chose the most expensive kind I could find, figuring it would be the highest quality.

But many of my readers asked me how to make it at home because they didn’t live near  Korean grocery store and couldn’t find it. At first I thought it was impossible to make in a home kitchen, but eventually I changed my mind and worked on developing a way to make delicious, easy, and simple eomuk anytime I want. That’s the recipe I want to share with you today.

So many of my readers tell me I’m their inspiration, but in reality they are the ones inspiring me to develop better recipes and always try my best.

I went through many variations of this recipe. Some of them were too starchy, others not elastic enough, and others not smooth enough. In the end, this is the seafood-to-flour ratio that satisfied me in terms of taste, texture, and flavor.

And as you see in the video, I shape the fish cakes into a roll before frying them: this is the shape preferred by Korean street vendors, but it takes some skill to do. A simpler way is to use a spoon to shape the cakes into balls.

Korean fish cakes (Eomuk: 어묵)

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound fresh white fresh fish fillet (cod, pollock, flounder, or snapper)
  • ¼ pound (4 ounces) squid: cleaned, rinsed, and chopped
  • ¼ pound (4 ounces) shrimp: shelled, deveined, rinsed, and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ medium onion (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup potato starch (or sweet potato starch)
  • 1 large egg white

Directions:

  1. Inspect the fish fillet and remove any remaining fish bones. Cut the fish fillets into chunks and put them into a food processor. Add the squid, shrimp, garlic, onion, salt, sugar, ground white pepper, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, flour, starch, and egg white. Blend for a couple of minutes until the mixture turns into a smooth paste.
    fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)
  2. Transfer to a bowl.
    fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)
  3. Heat 3 cups vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium (about 330-350° F or 180° C)
  4. Brush some cooking oil on a large and wide  rectangular spatula. Spread about ¼ to ⅓ cup of the fish paste to the spatula with a knife. Use your knife to carefully roll the paste into a cylinder, and gently slide it into the hot oil.
    (If this method is too tricky, simply use a spoon to scoop up some of the paste, and then another one to push it off the first and into the hot oil.)fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)
  5. Repeat shaping and pushing the fish mixture to hot oil,  3 to 4 sticks in the skillet, and be sure not to to crowd them. Stir the fish cakes occasionally to fry all sides evenly. Let them cook about 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat until golden brown. Take the fish cakes out and put them in a strainer over small bowl. Pat the fish cakes with paper towel to remove the excess oil.fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)fish cake (Eomuk: 어묵 만들기)
  6. Serve hot as a snack right away. For later use, cool it down and put it into a plastic bag. Keep the bag into a fridge up to 1 week or freezer up to 3 months.

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