Spicy fish soup

Maeuntang 매운탕

4 servings. Total cooking hours: 1-1½ hours.


a red snapper (25 cm long), 4 clams, 4 large shrimp, Korean radish, 2 shiitake mushrooms, water, dried kelp,
minari (water dropwort), enoki mushroom, ssukgat (edible chrysanthemum), green onions, green chili pepper, red chili pepper,
cooking wine, garlic, onion, ginger, hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, salt

Make stock first!

  1. Soak 2 shiitake mushrooms in warm water for 3-4 hours and cut them into bite size in length.
  2. Soak 4-5 clams in cold salty water (2 cups of cold water +1 tbs salt) for at least 3-4 hours and wash them and set them aside.
  3. Cut  radish thinly into about 3×4 cm size, 0.2-0.3 cm in thickness.
  4. Place the sliced radish (about 1 cup), the pieces of mushroom, and some kelp in a pot.
  5. Pour 6-7 cups of water into the pot and boil it over high heat for 20 minutes.

Make maeuntang sauce:

  1. Place 7 cloves galic, ½ medium size onion, ½ tbs ginger, 2 tbs cooking wine (or soju), 2 tbs hot pepper flakes, 1 tbs hot pepper paste, 2 tbs fish sauce in the food processor and grind it for about 1 minute.
  2. Set it aside.

Prepare  fish:

  1. Put a red snapper on a cutting board and clean out guts, remove scales and fins. Wash it in cold water, cut it into chunks, and set it aside.
    *tip: to save time, you can ask your fishmonger to do this for you
  2. Prepare 4 large shrimp: remove the heads and intestines, wash them, and set aside.

Prepare vegetables:

  1. Clean ssukgat (edible chrysanthemum) and cut it into 7 cm long pieces.
  2. Clean minari (water dropwort) and cut it into 7 cm long pieces.
  3. Cut out the bottom part of enoki mushrooms and wash and split them.
  4. Slice some green onions, 1 green chili pepper, 1 red chili pepper,
  5. After boiling stock for 20 minutes, open the lid of the pot and take out kelp.
  6. Place chunks of the fish, shrimp, clams in the boiling stock.
  7. Add the maeuntang hot sauce and boil it all over medium heat for 30 minutes.
    *tip: It might boil over from time to time. Open the lid and remove the floating foam from the top and then close the lid halfway
  8. Add ½ ts of salt, enoki mushrooms, minari (water dropwort) and ssukgat (garland chrysanthemum), green chili pepper, red chili pepper, and boil a few more minutes before serving.

Your maeuntang is done!

Put some fish soup in a bowl for each person and provide each person with a bowl to collect fish bones and serve with rice and other side dishes.



  1. sanne Munich My profile page joined 8/14
    Posted August 22nd, 2014 at 11:38 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    My husband and I (both German) just love Korean food and culture, and our Korean isn’t to bad (his talking, my cooking ;-)).

    I really like your site (just prepared yeolmu kimchi today).

    I do wonder – why do you cook your fish that long?
    Whenever I prepare maeuntang or haemulchongol, I heat it all up until the fish and seafood (and dubu) are just done – that takes only a few minutes.

    Luckily, there is an excellent store for fresh fish and seafood nearby!

    Bye, sanne.

  2. JChim Australia My profile page joined 4/14
    Posted April 21st, 2014 at 5:06 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi
    I’m interested in 매운탕.
    Just want to ask that any recommendation to subsitute red snapper
    because red snapper is a kind of expensive fish.
    Thank you

  3. Rodhatte Copenhagen-Denmark My profile page joined 12/13
    Posted December 18th, 2013 at 8:32 pm | # |

    I have made this recipe three times now, with whatever fish, that was on offer at the store (after asking the guy behind the counter, what he would recommend for use in a soup). I make him filet the fish but keep the bones and the fish head, and just remove them along with the kelp.

    TIP! -Kelp (kobu) is a bit expencive here, so I DO NOT throw the kelp away! There’s still some good taste left in it!!! Instead I put it in the fridge and boil it again the next day or the day after, along with a small handful of dried anchovies, and a couple of dried shiitake mushrooms. Then I remove the anchovies and kelp. In the end, I add some doenjang or japanese miso along with whatever vegetables I happen to have in the kitchen that day. The mushrooms, I chop into small strips and add back in the soup.

    PS! -Thank you for doing this site. I’ve followed along on youtube for quite some time, and done a few of the recipes (mostly this one, and you kimchi recipes, that are much better than any other I have found on the net)… I’m very happy to FINALLY have come by your site as well… It is a very good site, and everything is so well maintained. I love it!

  4. kfishing United States My profile page joined 9/12
    Posted September 11th, 2012 at 10:03 pm | # |

    Loved this soup! The broth was so good and had many layers of flavor!
    The only thing I changed was i didn’t add shrimp i added squid that I cleaned myself! If turned out so so good! Also i just wanted to share that in my grocery store the Ssukgat was called Crown Daisy.
    Thank You Maangchi!

  5. Kachie520 Vancouver, Canada My profile page joined 6/12
    Posted June 3rd, 2012 at 1:08 am | # |

    I’ve just finished making this soup. It tastes great! I used the red snapper fillet instead of a whole fish, so it was very easy to make. Thank you, Maangchi! I love your recipe!!

  6. janicedale Australia My profile page joined 2/12
    Posted April 23rd, 2012 at 10:55 pm | # |

    This is a perfect recipe for me since I love spices. This recipe is also a healthy food because it contains fish, vegetables and other spices. We can actually add some oyster or other seafood. Thank you for sharing this recipe and I would love to share this to my family.Hope they would like spices too.

  7. ina78 Jerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia My profile page I'm a fan! joined 4/09
    Posted April 1st, 2012 at 12:00 am | # |

    can I skip the cooking wine?

  8. mchung83 chicago My profile page joined 3/12
    Posted March 22nd, 2012 at 9:29 am | # |

    Who needs to get married!??!? I have maangchi.com!

  9. Redrose Cheongju city south korea My profile page joined 2/12
    Posted February 27th, 2012 at 11:49 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi I’m Rose, filipina and have a Korean husband! I’m happy to learn with your recipes it’s very easy to learn and my husband like my cook. I have a question I’d like to cook this meountang but I don’t have blender wat will I do to make the sauce of maeuntang and I dont have kelp! Please help me tnx keep up the good work

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 28th, 2012 at 9:36 am | # |

      “I don’t have blender”
      Mince garlic and onion finely with a knife and skip kelp, it will still be delicious.

  10. jaylivg Houston My profile page I'm a fan! joined 7/10
    Posted February 19th, 2011 at 9:18 pm | # |

    Made this soup for dinner , it was delicious !!! I replaced minari with spinach and enoki mushroom with button mushroom . Everything turned out really good , we really enjoyed this soup , thank you Maangchi !!

  11. funnymouse1412 My profile page joined 2/11
    Posted February 17th, 2011 at 4:20 pm | # |

    I made this last Wednesday, and it was banging…will def make this delicious dish again …Thanks so much (I cooked without kelp so dont know what it tastes like with it ^^)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 18th, 2011 at 12:07 pm | # |

      Without kelp, it would be tasty, too. When you boil the fish for longer, you will get the nutrients from the fish bones and the broth will be tastier.

  12. imcwistene My profile page joined 11/10
    Posted November 14th, 2010 at 6:41 pm | # |

    hi Maangchi unni,
    i live in the caribbean so i doubt i can find ssukgat and minari…can i sub those items with something else? maybe with celery and parsley? i don’t know…i really want to make this dish but i’m not sure if its possible without those herbs?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 15th, 2010 at 8:09 am | # |

      Yes, it will still be delicious without using ssukgat and minari. Use more green onions. Parsley or celery sounds good to me.

  13. tastesofhome My profile page joined 11/10
    Posted November 11th, 2010 at 9:58 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! Just wanted to say thanks for your maeuntang recipe – my family really loved the soup although I did adapt your recipe according to availability of some of the ingredients but it still turned out great :) I also featured it on my blog since it was so yummy! (photos of the soup I made at link)


    Hope I did your recipe justice!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 11th, 2010 at 11:11 am | # |

      yay, your maeuntang looks so delicious! “.. Gochujang is essentially made of red chilli powder, glutinous rice powder mixed with powdered fermented soybeans and salt.” It sounds like you know a lot about Korean cuisine! Let me twit about your maeuntang blog! : )

      • tastesofhome My profile page joined 11/10
        Posted November 11th, 2010 at 11:16 am | # |

        Maangchi, thanks so much for your encouraging words! I just have been doing some research on Korean cuisine (reading/ internet and of of course your blog!) hehe I can’t wait to try out more of your recipes. Thanks again :)

  14. hellokitty08 My profile page joined 5/10
    Posted October 11th, 2010 at 10:02 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi. I LOVE your site. I love spicy food but my husband does not like spicy food. So I wanted to know if there is a way I can make this non spicy?? Thank you.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 12th, 2010 at 7:20 am | # |

      yes, of course you can make delicious non-spicy fish soup. You will have to find very fresh fish though. Skip spicy stuff.

  15. annak727 los angeles/milano My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted September 28th, 2010 at 2:04 pm | # |

    unni, when u get a chance, can you maybe add the recipe for the spicy crab soup (kot-gae-tang)? Do u use a similar sauce as maeuntang? thank u! ^^Y

  16. MCSEman Egypt My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted September 15th, 2010 at 5:44 pm | # |

    I like your video very much
    I’m from Egypt and I want to make this amazing soup
    I found (kelp) after deep searching in our supermarkets, but it is Chinese and it’s name: seaweed
    It has different shape than kelp, it looks like this: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4102/4780645493_e60f248328_z.jpg
    Can I use it instead of kelp.


    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted September 16th, 2010 at 2:33 pm | # |

      Thank you for your question. The seaweed is different from kelp. Besides you will have to use dried kelp to make delicious stock. To make maeuntang (spicy fish soup), skip dried kelp if it’s not available. As long as your fish is fresh, the soup will be very tasty.

      BTW, the seaweed in the photo of the link you gave me is miyuk julgi (seaplant stems). I posted this recipe. Get the ingredient and make miyukjulgi bokkeum. Let me know how it turns out if you make it later

      • MCSEman Egypt My profile page joined 9/10
        Posted September 17th, 2010 at 12:52 am | # |

        Thank you Miss Maangchi for your clearly reply.
        And sure I will make miyukjulgi bokkeum and all your Korean recipes if I find the required ingredients.


  17. Just_Tina Washington DC Metro Area My profile page joined 7/10
    Posted August 19th, 2010 at 7:09 pm | # |

    Hi, y’all. Does any one know of or have a recipe for Sungeoguk? Apparently it’s a (nonspicy) trout soup from North Korea (Pyongyang). There was a similar soup made on the K-Drama “Gourmet”. It looked totally DELISH; my mouth just watered. If not, I wouldn’t mind creating my own recipe. Any ideas or suggestions to get me started? Many thanks!

  18. rhealities Mississauga, ON My profile page joined 3/10
    Posted March 7th, 2010 at 11:00 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I made this a couple of weeks ago from your recipe – its absolutely delish! kamsahamnida =)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 7th, 2010 at 1:02 pm | # |

      yay! congratulation on your success! You are living in Missisauga! I have a few friends living there! Nice meeting you through my website!

      • rhealities Mississauga, ON My profile page joined 3/10
        Posted March 8th, 2010 at 8:32 pm | # |

        nice to meet you too maangchi, i hope we can be friends too. maybe we can exchange email addresses =)

  19. formulaic korea My profile page joined 2/10
    Posted February 15th, 2010 at 3:08 am | # |

    I was unsure of what cooking wine is, so found this link:


    It suggests not to use cooking wine, but rather always use a wine you would drink. I’d be interested in your opinion:)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 7th, 2010 at 1:03 pm | # |

      sorry, I don’t know much about wine. : )

    • TDenham77 McLeansboro, IL My profile page joined 12/11
      Posted January 7th, 2012 at 3:52 pm | # |

      I’ve always used drinking wine in cooking. The wines labeled “cooking” wine have always been too dry for my tastes. If I won’t drink it, I don’t want to eat it! lol

  20. Bolor
    Posted October 15th, 2009 at 9:21 pm | # |

    Hi I really like your recipes. Their so simple easy to cook. I cook your spicy fish soup for my husband it was good.(little spicy for us)
    Thank you very much.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 16th, 2009 at 6:08 pm | # |

      oh, you made maeuntang! I feel like making it for myself. : )

      • gringo My profile page joined 3/10
        Posted February 28th, 2010 at 11:22 pm | # |

        Hi Maangchi, I live 4 blocks from a Korean Market and I made this today because it is my favorite Korean Dish. Your recipe is better than the restaurants. I can’t believe it turned out so good. Love the video. Hope I can meet Mila also, best wishes!!

        • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
          Posted March 1st, 2010 at 9:03 am | # |

          very nice! I like to taste your maeuntang! : ) oh, I should contact Mila and let her know she has a fan!

  21. johnny
    Posted September 30th, 2009 at 10:42 pm | # |

    There is a soup I always get with my auntie in south Los Angeles that looks like the soft tofu soup, but has some kind of white fish cut crosswise with mussels and clams, is this the same as maeuntang or what seafood soup would it be?

  22. Starving Man
    Posted August 8th, 2009 at 4:33 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I was wondering if redsnapper is the traditional fish used in this stew. Is there an alternative to cod and snapper? My wife made this out of rainbow trout and it wasn’t very well received.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 8th, 2009 at 8:20 am | # |

      You could replace red snapper with other kinds of fish except for cod. : ) Cod flesh is so soft that it’s easily broken when you boil it. The recipe for cod maewoontang is different from red snapper maewoontang.

      You could use a croaker, flounder,or flatfish instead of red snapper for this recipe. Good luck with making delicious maewoontang!

      • Starving Man
        Posted August 10th, 2009 at 12:20 am | # |

        Thanks very much! I will try to make it as surprise for my wife.

  23. jonnel a orapa
    Posted August 7th, 2009 at 12:03 am | # |

    thanks for this website

  24. josh
    Posted July 27th, 2009 at 12:35 am | # |

    annyeong maangchi
    i bought this bottle of wine(i think) and it says 백세주
    and i was wondering if i could use it here.
    and if not wat are other uses for baek se ju
    cant wait for your future recipes ^o^

  25. EMie
    Posted July 20th, 2009 at 5:58 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi
    I was wondering, when you soaked the clams overnight did you leave it out or put it in the fridge? Also Do you have a substitute for kelp?

  26. Amber
    Posted July 15th, 2009 at 10:36 pm | # |

    Hi Maangachi unni ^^
    I was wondering if the fish could be substituted for a crab (i like your recipe for the broth..!) and would it be close to an authentic ggot gae tang (crab soup)? Or..would that not taste right?
    Any suggestions would be great too!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 16th, 2009 at 5:54 am | # |

      You can use crabs, but authentic ggotgaetang (crab stew) recipe is a little different from fish maewoontang. I will post the recipe later. Thanks!

  27. Ben Sargent
    Posted June 5th, 2009 at 12:23 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    I was wondering is tofu the major difference between SoonDubu and Maeun-tang? Thanks, -BenbimBahp

  28. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted March 9th, 2009 at 6:32 pm | # |

    oh, you are in Singapore. Did you check the forum “where do you get Korean ingredients” section? I’m copying and pasting it here:

    I found some Korean grocery stores in Singapore on the internet

    1. Korean mart:
    20 North Canal Road Tel: 6538-9801
    2. Korean trading mart:
    163 Tras Street #01-01 (LianHuat Building)
    Tel: 6324-5016
    or 6324-5017
    3. Samjin store:
    37 Malan Road Tel: 6777-4988

    These all 3 stores say that they can provide delivery service

  29. ken
    Posted March 9th, 2009 at 10:40 am | # |

    o thanks for the reply.. i replaced the pepper flakes to paste and it turns out nice.
    i got another question for you, i am now in singapore and cant find the vegetable in your recipe here in singapore. if it can be found than where can i find it, if not than do you have any other types of vegetable to substitute that i can find in singapore?

  30. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted March 7th, 2009 at 9:44 am | # |

    Yes, you can,

  31. ken
    Posted March 6th, 2009 at 11:11 pm | # |

    hi if i cant get pepper flakes can i just add extra pepper paste for the sauce?

  32. Anonymous
    Posted January 21st, 2009 at 8:33 pm | # |

    i love the way you cook easy but very delicious

  33. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted December 18th, 2008 at 11:45 pm | # |

    yes, you can. Thank you!

  34. rona
    Posted December 18th, 2008 at 11:40 pm | # |

    hi can i use this recipe and cooking procedure also for hemultang??

  35. saurabee
    Posted December 12th, 2008 at 8:13 am | # |

    hi, i am very fond of korean food, i looked every item of cooking and i enjoy with you. thankyou

  36. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted November 18th, 2008 at 8:43 am | # |

    Yes, you can use prawns instead of shrimp.
    Chinese black mushroom? I don’t know what it is. Find shiitake mushrooms! : ) Shiitake mushrooms are used for good stock.

  37. Luna
    Posted November 18th, 2008 at 8:27 am | # |

    hey maangchi can i use prawns instead of shrimps and
    chinese black mushroom instead of shittake?

  38. Lan-Anh
    Posted November 10th, 2008 at 9:45 pm | # |

    I made Maeuntang today. I added some Dashi Moto Stock to it. It added some more seafood flavor and turned out great. You can get the Dashi powder in any asian super market. I can highly recommend it. My Korean father-in- law and my husband loved it!! He said ‘chin-cha Maeuntang!’

  39. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted October 11th, 2008 at 1:22 am | # |

    check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maeuntang
    daikon radish will be good, but don’t use kim for soup.

    you could use dried anchovy, too

  40. cindy
    Posted October 11th, 2008 at 12:24 am | # |

    hey can i use dried anchovy fish at place of kelp?

  41. Luna
    Posted October 10th, 2008 at 11:18 pm | # |


    can i use daikon radish instead of korean and can i use Kim(laver) instead of Kelp

  42. Luna
    Posted October 5th, 2008 at 9:40 pm | # |


    This soup looks so good, I cannot wait to try it! Can you substitute the snapper with any type of fish? Also, your kitchen looks so nice!

  43. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted October 1st, 2008 at 3:32 pm | # |

    Yes, you could replace snapper with cod.
    Yes, a few scallops, why not! : )

  44. Sylvia My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/08
    Posted October 1st, 2008 at 1:12 pm | # |

    Now I am really hungry for spicy seafood soup.
    Thank you for another great recipe and fun video.
    Is it ok to add a couple of scallops?

  45. sujin
    Posted October 1st, 2008 at 12:30 pm | # |

    Thank you for your wonderful videos!

    I was wondering if I could substitute the snapper with cod (daegue).

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