Hi everybody! I’m going to introduce you to the Korean snack Eomukguk today. Eomuk are fish cakes and guk is the Korean word for soup, so this recipe is fish cake soup with anchovy stock. If you’ve ever been to Korea, you’ve probably seen this food being sold by street vendors. You’ll always see people gathering around their steaming carts in the wintertime, enjoying the sizzling eomukguk.
Many of these street carts are also selling ddukbokkie, which is hot and spicy, so this soup goes well with it. After having some ddukbokkie many people like to chase it down with some eomukguk broth. I have a lot of memories of standing around the street cart, enjoying the fish cakes. In my video I put many cakes on a single skewer, but vendors sell them one cake per skewer. Eat as many as you like, and when you’re finished, the vendor will ask you:
“How many did you eat?”
For each one I ate, I’ll have an empty skewer in my hand. So it’s easy to calculate! I show the vendor my skewers and they tell me the price. This way, I can just eat as many as I like, comfortably, and worry about paying later.
What I’m showing you here is an upgraded version of Eomukguk. Most street carts only use low quality fish cake made with lots of starch instead of fish, but I’m using gourmet fish cakes in this video. I worked a long time to perfect this broth and make it as delicious as I could remember it being. I tried adding dried shrimp, mussels, dried mushrooms, but found that a simple, well-seasoned broth gave me the best flavor. If I ever develop a better broth I’ll let you know, but in the meantime, make this for your family, friends, or yourself, and pretend you’re on the street in Korea.
- 1 pound of fish cakes
- 4 or 5 wooden skewers
- 12 cups of water (3 liters)
- 200 grams (about ½ pound) of cleaned and unpeeled Korean radish (or daikon)
- 20 large dried anchovies, guts removed
- 1 cup onion, cut into small pieces
- 1 sheet dried kelp (7″x 8″)
- 2 ts soy sauce
- 1 ts salt
for yangnyeomjang (dipping sauce):
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ ts sugar
- 1 ts hot pepper flakes
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green onion,chopped
- 1 green chili pepper (or jalapeño), chopped
- 1 ts toasted sesame oil
- 1 ts toasted sesame seeds
Make the broth:
- Put the water in a large pot. Peel the radish and cut it into 1 inch cubes (or balls) and put them into a soup strainer (gukmulmang). Put the strainer into the pot. If you don’t have a soup strainer, you can use soup sock or cheese cloth.
- Add the the onion, dried kelp, and the leftover bits of radish (including the skin) to the pot. Bring it to a boil over high heat for 20 minutes with the lid closed.
- While it’s boiling, cook the anchovies in the microwave for 1 minute (or sauté without oil in a pan for a few minutes).
- Add the dried anchovies to the pot and boil for another for 20 minutes, uncovered. This will allow some of the fishy smell of the anchovies to evaporate.
- Remove the pot from the heat and strain. Take out the cooked radish cubes from the soup strainer and set aside. You’ll get about 8 cups of stock. Add the soy sauce and salt and mix well.
Add the fish cakes:
- Stick 5 or 6 fishcake pieces on a skewer, and make 4 or 5 skewers. Put them in a shallow pot and add enough broth to totally submerge the fishcakes.
- Bring to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes until the fishcakes are soft.
Make the yangnyeomjang (dipping sauce):
- Combine soy sauce, hot pepper flakes, green onion, green chili pepper, garlic, sugar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a small mixing bowl.
- Prepare individual bowls and plates, a ladle for the soup, and a small spoon for the dipping sauce. Serve hot and scoop some of the soup, with a skewer, into a bowl for each person. When they eat a fish cake from the skewer they can put some dipping sauce on it first. Delicious!
Enjoy the recipe! Let me know how it turns out.