Spicy stir-fried fish cakes

Eomuk-bokkeum 어묵볶음

Today I’m going to show you how to make one of the most popular Korean lunchbox side dishes: spicy stirfried fish cakes, or eomuk-bokkeum in Korean. It’s sweet, spicy, chewy, and salty, which means it goes perfectly with rice: the blandness of the rice offsets the bolder flavors of eomuk-bokkeum, and the spicy fish cakes add life to white rice.

All Korean kids love this dish. When my children were young, they loved it when I put it in their dosirak. They never got tired of eomuk-bokkeum!

You can make this recipe with fish cakes bought from the store, or from fish cakes you make at home, either way will be delicious. And for a nonspicy version, skip the spicy stuff – hot pepper paste and green chili peppers – and add 1 tablespoon soy sauce.

Let me know if you make this dish, especially if you make it with your homemade fish cakes. I want to hear how it turns out!



  1. Heat up a frying pan over medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and the sliced fish cakes. Stir them with a wooden spoon for a few minutes until light golden brown.
    fishcakes (어묵)
  2. Add onion, carrot, garlic, and  green chili pepper, and keep stirring for a few minutes until the onion looks a little translucent.
  3. Turn the heat down to low. Push the fishcakes and vegetables to the edge of the pan with a wooden spoon to clear out a spot in the middle of the pan.eomuk (fishcakes): 어묵볶음
  4. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, hot pepper paste, and rice syrup to the center of the pan. Mix well for a few seconds, and then mix in the fishcakes and the vegetables from the edges of the pan.eomukbokkeum (어묵볶음)eomuk (fishcakes): 어묵볶음eomuk (fishcakes): 어묵볶음
  5. Remove it from the heat. Add green onion, sesame oil, and sprinkle some sesame seeds over top.
  6. Serve with rice.



  1. KwonC Los Angeles My profile page joined 6/14
    Posted June 2nd, 2014 at 10:31 pm | # |

    I tried making this today, and it turned out great! This is one of my fav side dishes, so I know I will be making this often. It was so easy to make. Thanks, Maangchi!

  2. sherrysfu Los Angeles, CA My profile page joined 2/11
    Posted May 13th, 2014 at 12:10 am | # |

    I love your recipes!
    Can you make gopchang bokkeum (곱창 볶음) next time?
    Or even soondae bokkeum (순대 볶음)?

    I would love to learn how to make that.

    Thank you!! :):)

  3. rmjs77 Canada My profile page joined 8/12
    Posted August 10th, 2012 at 2:39 pm | # |

    Who thinks Maangchi is a Korean cooking genius?????
    Whoot Whoot! I just finished eating a delicious bowl of ponytail kimchi, rice and Uhmook Bokkeum, and it was so delicious that I want to have it for dinner tonight as well! Yum!
    I do have a question, however: in many of your recipes/videos, including this one, you use a long curly green chili pepper. Is this a hot chili or a sweet chili, because there are so many hundreds of varieties of peppers, I want to make sure I get the flavour right? I bought one this morning that looks identical to the ones you use and after cooking the meal I popped a piece in my mouth and almost screamed: HOT!!!
    Otherwise, thanks for another amazing recipe.

  4. Mal23 Auckland, New Zealand My profile page joined 2/12
    Posted July 16th, 2012 at 4:31 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    i love these at korean restaurants but have never made it myself. I made it lastnight for dinner and it was so so so good. AMAZING! I love your passion and love for food!!! YUM!!!!

  5. pongwoody florida My profile page joined 12/11
    Posted December 24th, 2011 at 12:06 pm | # |

    thank u so much…i llike this menu…..

  6. maziana kuala lumpur, malaysia My profile page joined 10/11
    Posted November 24th, 2011 at 2:14 am | # |

    wow!.. all your recipe really delicious.. really easy.. I like korean drama, korean food and all about korean..

  7. tofu19 Carmel My profile page joined 7/11
    Posted July 25th, 2011 at 12:50 am | # |

    I love fish cakes and make it pretty often but when I saw this recipe I had to try your version. Thankfully I did because it was out of this world good. My whole family enjoyed it very much even my mom who is not a big fan of fish cakes. Thank you so much, Maangchi!

  8. Unprofessional-Chef-In-Trainin Chicago, IL My profile page joined 3/11
    Posted March 31st, 2011 at 3:17 am | # |

    I like spicy but I am not a fan of chili peppers. Would the taste change if I simply left them out?

  9. JamieF New Zealand My profile page I'm a fan! joined 1/11
    Posted March 15th, 2011 at 3:06 pm | # |

    I made these yesterday to go with my other side dishes. Everyone loved them and the whole lot was eaten in one dinner! The spicy sauce is so rich, sweet, tangy, and delicious.

  10. hapa-korean My profile page joined 1/11
    Posted January 7th, 2011 at 7:41 am | # |

    Fabulous!!!! Oh.. every time I make your recipes it is like I’m a child again and my mom is in the kitchen making food for me. She’s too busy to cook now so it’s wonderful that I can do it myself. Thank you!!

  11. Lucahjin New England, USA My profile page joined 12/10
    Posted December 14th, 2010 at 6:11 pm | # |

    Oh my gosh!!! Thank you thank you so much for this recipe! I had a bag of fishcakes in my freezer for… way too long :P I picked them up once at a Korean market and didn’t know what to do with them! I put a few in ramen once, and it was ok. But I left the rest of the bag in the freezer to be forgotten about xD

    I just made this with the rest of the bag and it’s one of the most delicious things ever!!! I’m going back to the store to buy more fishcakes! :P

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 15th, 2010 at 12:30 pm | # |

      Great news! Reading your feedback makes me feel like this dish. I should visit my Korean store to get some soon.

  12. Ikkin-bot edmonton My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted November 7th, 2010 at 11:25 pm | # |

    Made this tonight! It was great, so I made a blog about it! Check it out as its fun!


  13. alohalo Toronto My profile page joined 10/10
    Posted October 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Do you know by any chance where I can find fish cakes in Toronto?

    Thanks and keep up the good work! :)

  14. remodeling My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted September 10th, 2010 at 8:36 am | # |

    Since its usual for Koreans to serve a number of side dishes for a meal, do they prepare it fresh everyday? Or they make a batch and keep them in the fridge to be eaten over a few days?

    How long can this spicy fried fish cake be kept in the fridge?

    Thanks for a wonderful blog and keep up the great work! Everytime I come here, I find new things and I don’t ever get bored!

    home remodeling

  15. Brian_Montoya Colorado Springs,Colorado My profile page joined 12/09
    Posted July 13th, 2010 at 3:48 pm | # |

    Yum i just tried it with the flat fishcakes, theyre so good, thanks again!

    I LOVE your hair in this video by the way!

  16. MTZero North Carolina My profile page joined 4/09
    Posted June 19th, 2010 at 11:18 pm | # |

    I’ve made this dish at least 4 times since it was posted, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it each time (and as I’m typing this, I’m craving it again). It’s a great spicy-sweet-savory combination of flavors.

    Here’s what I’ve done with the dish:
    – I don’t use sesame oil because I don’t like it very much. I like sesame seeds, however, and add them when I can remember to do so.
    – I add thinly sliced carrots to it for extra sweetness and color.
    – I used a red onion (instead of the white onion) a couple of times for the same reason.
    – On one occasion, I stir-fried some cold leftover rice with the gochujang and corn syrup until the rice was soft and hot.
    – Another time, I cooked about 1/4 of a large pack of dangmyeon and stirred that in with the gochujang/corn syrup mixture.

  17. eve Germany My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted June 13th, 2010 at 7:21 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi!
    Thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipes. This dish came out soooooooo delicious, a real life saver when you are hungry!

  18. Jean Philippines My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted June 7th, 2010 at 10:43 pm | # |

    I love this!<3 <3 <3 delicious….

  19. KKVL Belfast, My profile page joined 4/10
    Posted April 28th, 2010 at 6:49 pm | # |

    hie maangchi,

    i’m very interested in trying this recipe out..thing is, i don’t have corn syrup..is it ok to replace it with honey or sugar?

    thanks! =D

  20. Sarah
    Posted December 28th, 2009 at 4:23 pm | # |

    I love watching your videos they are all great and very helpful^^
    I want to try and make the rainbow rice cake..
    Where can you buy a rice steamer similar to yours??
    Also are they expensive?
    I want to make this rainbow rice cake for my friends birthday.
    Your videos are great

  21. Lina
    Posted November 23rd, 2009 at 3:06 pm | # |

    oooo! this looks REAL DELICIOUS! imma try this out someday to pack in my lunchbox! :D

  22. Amber
    Posted September 14th, 2009 at 11:13 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi,

    I made this dish a couple of days ago with some oisobagi and rice. It was sooooo delicious! I was wondering could I use this recipe with something else, like shrimp? Thank you!

    Amber ;)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted September 15th, 2009 at 7:04 am | # |

      I’m glad to hear about your successful Korean cooking! oisobagi, uhmukbokkeum (fishcake sidedish) and steamed rice sounds good! : ) Shrimp? Try it out, why not?

  23. Sam
    Posted September 10th, 2009 at 10:35 pm | # |

    Maangchi if u get the frozen fish cakes do u have to wait for them to defrost to start cookin them?
    the one i bought are like sheets different to wat u used.

  24. Samantha T.
    Posted September 9th, 2009 at 9:06 pm | # |

    HI! I just wanted to say that You rock!! I made this dish today with bulgogi and kimchi jjigae!! Delish!! I couldn’t find the fish cakes in the balls at the korean Grocery store near my house. HOwever, I found the fish cake sheets roll and I made this dish using that and it turned out awsome. My brother can not stop eating. I would love to e-mail you the pics of my 1st korean food!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted September 9th, 2009 at 9:37 pm | # |

      yay! Congratulation on your successful Korean cooking! Yes, email me the photos of the food you made. I will post them on my website. Thanks a lot!

  25. sagu
    Posted August 27th, 2009 at 4:04 am | # |

    i’m gonna try this recipe soon..
    i don’t eat much of korean food cause i don’t eat pork and beef so love to chicken and seafood…

  26. Hey Slugger
    Posted August 16th, 2009 at 5:58 pm | # |

    I LOVE your choice in music! The KKK took my baby away PLUS delicous K-Food?!! Life is good. Thanks for the videos.

  27. Soonja
    Posted August 16th, 2009 at 8:55 am | # |


    I’m looking for the recipe called “Gujeolpan”? A nine-sectioned dish with wheat pancakes.
    Hope you can help me.
    Great site!

  28. Trang
    Posted August 13th, 2009 at 9:22 pm | # |

    I made this the other day along with the spinach side dish and it was great! I was a little intimidated to try to make Korean dishes but now I’m excited to try more. Thanks!!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 14th, 2009 at 8:10 am | # |

      I’m glad to hear that your fish cake side dish turned out good! It’s time for you to start Korean cooking! : )

  29. iya
    Posted June 14th, 2009 at 3:26 am | # |

    yumyum, everything in here look so delicious.
    actually i was looking for some korean recipes
    i always see fishcakes or something on korean dramas
    and movies. the one sold n the streets.
    i wonder how it’s made, if you could include this in your to do list,
    i’d be very grateful.

    for now, im going to try your jajangmyun recipe. *drooling* :D
    great website by the way.

  30. Sharon
    Posted June 7th, 2009 at 9:13 am | # |

    Maangchi, I have a three year old who doesn’t like spicy food, could I leave out the red pepper paste?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 7th, 2009 at 10:33 am | # |

      Good question! Yes, use 1 tbs of soy sauce instead of 2 tbs of hot pepper paste. Thank you!

  31. sophia nguyen
    Posted June 1st, 2009 at 9:29 pm | # |

    heyy! i was wonderinng if i can substitute anything for the corn syrup?

  32. Mimi
    Posted May 21st, 2009 at 9:09 am | # |

    Maangchi, I really like your videos. It’s really useful and makes me want to try korean dishes.
    Anyway, for this fish cake dish, how long it last if you store it in the fridge?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 21st, 2009 at 9:29 am | # |

      I usually finish eating in couple of days when I make it, but it can last for a week in the refrigerator.

  33. josh
    Posted May 3rd, 2009 at 11:13 pm | # |

    annyeong maangchi nuna!
    i’m getting good at korean neh?
    i made this today served it with kimchi and rice
    and it was so delicious!!!

  34. Azlynda
    Posted April 21st, 2009 at 8:35 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi, I have been a vegetarian for a year but love Japchae. Is it possible to omit the beef and double the amount of shiitake for protein? Is there any other ingredient/s you might suggest for protein?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 21st, 2009 at 11:13 pm | # |

      Put more colorful vegetables in your japchae. More sliced onion, spinachi, mushrooms…and lots of sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds. It’s delicious even though you don’t use beef. I sometimes make japchae using fish cake instead of meat.

  35. Summa
    Posted April 18th, 2009 at 1:43 am | # |

    Does the green chilli pepper have some sort of special taste that adds to the dish or is it just put in for extra spiciness?
    I only have mini dried red chilli peppers and i was wondering if it is ok to use them instead?
    Or will the dish taste different?
    Thank you~

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 18th, 2009 at 7:15 am | # |

      I use green chili pepper for a little flavor, but you can skip it. You don’t have to add your dried red chili peppers to this dish unless you want to make it more spicy.

  36. Anonymous
    Posted April 10th, 2009 at 6:13 pm | # |

    I made this today (Good Friday-no meat today-fish is ok). It is fantastic!! So delicious!!
    I love how it’s spicy and sweet at the same time.
    My son loves this.

  37. Austin Salazar
    Posted April 4th, 2009 at 5:09 pm | # |

    Sorry Maangchi~ I found the new videos on itunes~~ Silly me!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  38. Austin Salazar
    Posted April 4th, 2009 at 5:06 pm | # |

    Maangchi~~ just wondering when you were going to post your new videos on itunes podcast!! can’t wait to make this dish~!! THANK YOU!!

  39. annie
    Posted April 4th, 2009 at 1:58 pm | # |

    looks so delicious! maanchi please cook for me! i live in nyc :)

  40. Libelle
    Posted April 3rd, 2009 at 10:54 am | # |

    Maangchi ssi, annyeong!
    Aigoo, so cute when you tasted it!lol :-) Looks delicious, I hope I can find uh mook at the store. Kamsahamida for yet another yummy recipe!

  41. Sylvia My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/08
    Posted April 3rd, 2009 at 10:07 am | # |

    I can’t wait to get some fish cakes and try this recipe. Thank you again for keeping us cooking!!

  42. Ashley
    Posted April 2nd, 2009 at 11:22 pm | # |

    Are those fishcakes frozen?? The only one I ever bought was the rolled one that are in thin sheets and are frozen…

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 2nd, 2009 at 11:57 pm | # |

      Thaw them out and slice them thinly or cut them into square shapes. The recipe is the same!

  43. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted April 1st, 2009 at 6:59 pm | # |

    If you can, get the same fish cakes as I used for this recipe. It’s good quality and not expensive. I like fish cake that doesn’t contain much starch. I think I should post the photo of the bag of fish cakes in my “ingredient” section on my website.

    yeah, you won’t make any mistakes with this dish because it’s very easy.

  44. Katt
    Posted April 1st, 2009 at 3:09 pm | # |

    HOORAY FOR THE NEW VEDIO…finally!!!I’m gonna make it this weekend. I love fish cakes in Oden, so I’m sure I will love this dish as well:)

  45. Cam
    Posted April 1st, 2009 at 1:27 pm | # |

    Yum! That looks really simple and delicious- i’ll make it asap.
    Do you think it will be easy to find a bag of mixed fish cakes like you have in your video? I’m going to the korean grocery store soon- do the fish cakes only look different? or do they have different flavours? (lol, i’ve never bought fish cakes before :P)


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