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.

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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

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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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71 Comments:

  1. Sid Baltimore joined 2/16
    Posted February 29th, 2016 at 6:27 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi,

    Can I bake the fish cake instead of frying it?

    (8)
  2. missdhani Indonesia joined 12/13
    Posted October 28th, 2014 at 2:15 am | # |

    Hi, maangchi…
    I’m your fan from indonesia. I want to know what can i use to subtitute the potato starch? Because potato and sweet potato starch is difficult to found in my town. Can i use corn starch or casava starch? Thanks before

    (5)
  3. Deelicioco Surabaya joined 11/16
    Posted November 10th, 2016 at 12:21 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    Thank you for the recipe and the tehnique to make it. Your fishcake recipe is sooo good I like the texture very much, but I add more sugar and salt to make it taste better.
    I wonder how to make flat fish cake, is it the same recipe? I trird to make it from the same recipe but it looklike need more flexible.


    See full size image

    (1)
    • JeffB Florida joined 1/17
      Posted January 3rd, 2017 at 6:51 pm | # |

      I could not find squid in my local markets. I did find octopus in my local Asian market. Can I us octopus in place of squid?

      (0)
  4. KathyFaye London joined 1/17
    Posted January 22nd, 2017 at 6:22 am | # |

    @Maangchi Hi Maangchi! I’ve been a long-time follower of your blog & YT channel, thanks to you I’ve learned how to make soo many Korean dishes, even when I lived in Korea, I still used your recipes sometimes ^_^

    I have a question about the eomuk – can I replace shrimp with something? I’m allergic :(

    (0)
  5. JayJayJay joined 10/15
    Posted June 13th, 2016 at 2:07 pm | # |

    I made fishcakes again. They turned out very nice. Although I wonder if I used too much flour because my fishcakes are very airy/fluffy and your cakes look so firm.


    See full size image

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    • JayJayJay joined 10/15
      Posted June 13th, 2016 at 2:20 pm | # |

      Or maybe these were so fluffy because I made them so small.

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  6. JayJayJay joined 10/15
    Posted April 3rd, 2016 at 4:36 pm | # |

    My fish cakes turned out pretty nice. Although I didn’t have any squid to use so these fish cakes didn’t have that springy quality like your ones did on the video. Also I found it to be quite difficult to keep the oil in 180 Celsius degrees. And I also thought it was much easier to shape the fish cakes by hand that use that spatula technique.


    See full size image

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 4th, 2016 at 7:49 pm | # |

      Your fish cakes look so cute!

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  7. Schannou Paris joined 3/16
    Posted March 22nd, 2016 at 4:21 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!!!! Today i made your recipe! It’s very easy to make eomuk! I made for at least 3 mouth! Loooool! Thank you very much! I love fish cakes!!!!


    See full size image

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  8. amoung Houston joined 3/16
    Posted March 14th, 2016 at 10:13 am | # |

    Hi Maagchi,

    I follow your recipe but i double size the ingredients.
    Somehow i need to blend for a long time in order to make it smooth.
    But once i finish, the fish paste come come very wet, not sticky at all.
    What i did wrong? How can i improve it?

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 18th, 2016 at 5:43 pm | # |

      I would add more starch powder to the mixture.

      (0)
  9. tigr P joined 2/16
    Posted February 1st, 2016 at 6:46 am | # |

    Hello, Maangchi!
    Thank you so, so much for this recipe – fish cakes were one of my favorite food items when I was studying in Taiwan and even though I’ve tried to make them after coming back, none of the recipes I used resulted in something similar to what I could eat in my university’s cafeteria. Judging by your pictures, though, I think I finally found what I was looking for :) Can’t wait to try it!

    (0)
    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 2:28 pm | # |

      Let me know the result when you make it!

      (0)
  10. stage89 singapore joined 2/15
    Posted January 21st, 2016 at 11:35 am | # |

    Hi maangchi, may I ask your seafood 1/2 pound and 1/4 pound is how many gms? ?

    (0)
    • sanne Munich joined 8/14
      Posted January 21st, 2016 at 12:19 pm | # |

      On each and every one of Maangchi’s recipe-sites is the link to a conversion-machine. Just scroll down a bit and look on the right side.

      Bye, Sanne.

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      • stage89 singapore joined 2/15
        Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 10:52 am | # |

        The fish don’t have 1/2 pound only no gms I am worry turn out wrong

        (0)
  11. stage89 singapore joined 2/15
    Posted January 21st, 2016 at 11:31 am | # |

    Hi maangchi, may I ask the 3 seafood weighting change to gm instead of pound?please

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    • tigr P joined 2/16
      Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 1:19 am | # |

      there are many online convertors to convert the weight measures; the quickest way is to simply type something like “0.5 pound to grams” into Google bar and it will convert it for you.

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      • sanne Munich joined 8/14
        Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 7:00 am | # |

        Or one may just look for “Convert your ingredient units:” on this very site (as mentioned before)…

        Bye, Sanne.

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  12. babatheturk joined 8/15
    Posted August 9th, 2015 at 11:07 pm | # |

    Hi!
    I made chicken noodle soup of yours for lunch today, and for dinner I made fish cakes. My husband and I didn’t want to eat too much for dinner, so we said we’d just have this for a little bit.
    We ended up making another batch and almost finished all of it. We put shishito pepper bits in the paste and it was just delightful.

    Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe

    Hugs!


    See full size image

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted August 13th, 2015 at 7:17 am | # |

      “We ended up making another batch and almost finished all of it.” : ) Your fish cakes look so handsome!

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    • pianenor joined 1/16
      Posted January 11th, 2016 at 9:23 pm | # |

      Hi Maangchi,

      I really like your fish cake :) …


      See full size image

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      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
        Posted January 12th, 2016 at 1:01 pm | # |

        They are such good looking fish cakes!

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  13. aida11st joined 4/15
    Posted April 5th, 2015 at 3:59 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    I really like your fish cake or eomuk I tried 4 times already and I can’t do the elastic the way you did I followed all the exact recipe of yours is there any trick or secret to make the fish cake elastic.

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  14. Neal0707 Manila joined 10/14
    Posted October 31st, 2014 at 1:16 pm | # |

    Hi!

    Can I use dory instead of cod?

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  15. nariswariputri indonesia joined 9/13
    Posted October 9th, 2014 at 5:36 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi, i don’t hv food processor, can i use blender? thankyou:)

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 9th, 2014 at 4:07 pm | # |

      Yes, of course you can use a blender.

      (0)
  16. Romy1978 Argentina joined 4/13
    Posted October 7th, 2014 at 4:18 pm | # |

    Hi ! You are really amazing! Thanks for this recipe. I always wanted to how prepare homemade fish cake. I’ll do it for sure! Thanks again.

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  17. PYIM Brazil joined 10/14
    Posted October 4th, 2014 at 8:40 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I am a big fan of you from Brazil!! Your recipes and videos are delightful! I just love them!!!
    My father loves fish cakes, so I intend to it in the dinner. Can I prepare the batter on Sunday, leave it on the fridge and fry it on Tuesday? I want them as freshly fried.
    Thank you again for your wonderful recipes!!

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    • sanne Munich joined 8/14
      Posted October 4th, 2014 at 9:25 am | # |

      Hi PYIM,

      “Can I prepare the batter on Sunday, leave it on the fridge and fry it on Tuesday? I want them as freshly fried.”

      Don’t! The batter will spoil!
      Fry them on low-medium heat until yellowish (cooked through) on Sunday, refrigerate them and fry them again (after patting them dry) on medium-high heat until golden brown on Tuesday.

      Bye, Sanne.

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  18. Skates Doylestown, PA joined 9/14
    Posted September 22nd, 2014 at 9:38 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! Today I made this recipe and they came out very good, I think. I love your YouTube channel and look forward to your videos. Hope you have a great week!

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 22nd, 2014 at 11:17 am | # |

      Thanks! Happy cooking!

      (0)
  19. aTrueRedHead Germany joined 8/14
    Posted August 26th, 2014 at 5:08 am | # |

    I made them for the first time last week-end and they tasted great. I will make them again, for sure.

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 22nd, 2014 at 11:16 am | # |

      Great! Congratulations!

      (0)
  20. Chia Yin0701 Malaysia joined 7/14
    Posted July 25th, 2014 at 1:15 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi ,
    My father allergic with shrimp and squid.
    What should I do ????
    (P.S my English not really good)

    (0)
  21. Sunghan CA joined 7/14
    Posted July 7th, 2014 at 2:05 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi Im going to make this recipe but I don’t have squid, what can I use? Does Scallop sound good?

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 7th, 2014 at 8:39 pm | # |

      I’m not sure about the result with scallop because I have never tried it.

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      • Sunghan CA joined 7/14
        Posted July 8th, 2014 at 4:56 pm | # |

        Ok I see, is there a substitution with squid?

        (0)
  22. Ari_Lee Puerto Rico joined 7/14
    Posted July 6th, 2014 at 10:15 am | # |

    Hi! I love all your recipes. I was wondering, do I have to add the shrimp to make it work or can I substitute it with something else?

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 7th, 2014 at 8:40 pm | # |

      Yes, shrimp is necessary because it makes the fish cakes elastic.

      (0)
  23. StarryLiz Puerto Rico joined 6/14
    Posted June 29th, 2014 at 12:03 am | # |

    Hi! I’m from Pierto Rico and i lover korean cooking.
    I’m gonna make this very soon. ^__^

    (0)
  24. Minh Ta Australia joined 6/14
    Posted June 28th, 2014 at 6:31 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi ! I have 2 questions for you. How many serves can I get from those ingredients ? And can I use this type of fish cake to make tteokbokki ?
    Thank you :)

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 28th, 2014 at 11:27 am | # |

      ok, here are my answers.
      How many serves can I get from those ingredients?
      It can be 2 to 4 servings. You can make 8 pieces of fish cakes.

      Can I use this type of fish cake to make tteokbokki ?
      yes, you can.

      Good luck with making good fish cakes!

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  25. Kevin92 Vietnam joined 6/14
    Posted June 18th, 2014 at 6:38 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, Can I use tuna fish to make this?????

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  26. blk256 United States joined 6/14
    Posted June 16th, 2014 at 11:40 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I love your recipes!! Followed this recipe the first time exactly then tried again but switching to rice flour instead,delicious either way!! But the second time I did recipe it was much easier I sprayed the inside of a ziploc bag w/corner cut off or those icing/ pastry bags do just fine with a little oil sprayed inside so not a lot of sticking to inside of bag dont want to waste that good fish mixture ;) filled it and squeeze mixture into oil and it came out perfect shape every time it saved a lot of time other than that I love this! I’m so happy you do this because those of us who love Korean cooking but haven’t a clue how to do it can learn :)

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 19th, 2014 at 9:30 am | # |

      Thank you for sharing the tip with us!

      (0)
  27. pocket_ninja Seattle, WA joined 6/14
    Posted June 15th, 2014 at 4:43 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    I’m a huge fan! Thank you for this recipe. I am going to make this tonight :D Yummy yummy!
    I read in another fish cake recipe that you can make the cake smoother if you leave the uncooked mixture at room temperature for one hour before cooking it. Have you tried this? Do you know if it’ll work?

    Thanks!
    Maria

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  28. jaylivg Houston joined 7/10
    Posted June 13th, 2014 at 12:11 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi !!
    Making Eomuk right now .. can’t wait to taste it !!! :D

    (0)
  29. Sarah2 Singapore joined 6/14
    Posted June 13th, 2014 at 6:40 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi!
    I am from Singapore!
    Thank you so much for showing and teaching us how to make the perfect fish cakes!!! Appreciate your kindness and big heart to share with us your recipe!!! I will try out with my daughters who are crazy about korean food!!
    LOVE KOREAN FOOD!! : ) LOVE everything about korean : ) Visited korea twice and madly in love with korean food and culture!

    (0)
    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 14th, 2014 at 11:04 am | # |

      Thank you very much! Happy cooking!

      (0)
  30. ewhaag New Mexico joined 5/14
    Posted May 20th, 2014 at 10:45 pm | # |

    여러모로 도움 많이받고 있습니다.
    아이들을 위해 어묵을 만들어주고 싶은데 저희 동네에서 오징어 구하기가 하늘에 별따기보다 힘들거든요.
    오징어 빼고 해도 괜찮을까요?
    아님 비율을 다르게 해야하는지요.

    (0)
  31. Kjbehr Sacramento, CA joined 5/14
    Posted May 12th, 2014 at 2:42 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, this is the second recipe I made of yours, the first one is your baek kimchi, but it is not done fermenting, so I hope it turns out good. I posted a picture of the results to your photos page. They turn out much better than I expected and my husband even liked it and he is pretty much a food wimp. Thank you for all the recipes and the wonderful tastes that take me back to all the wonderful tasty from me days learning Korean at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey back in the Ninties. You Rock!

    (0)
    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 13th, 2014 at 10:24 pm | # |

      Good luck with your Korean cooking! : )

      (0)
  32. mpotato09 New York joined 5/14
    Posted May 2nd, 2014 at 4:16 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi,

    Just a few questions. I just moved to New York a few months ago and I was wondering where do you usually do your ingredient shopping? The fish market you went to look amazing. I just need a place to get good quality foods for cooking your dishes.

    Thanks.

    (0)
  33. HelenKang Northridge, CA joined 5/14
    Posted May 2nd, 2014 at 1:25 pm | # |

    난 망치님의 채널을 모두에게 알리는 망치전도사~ 한국 친구들 외국 친구들 할거없이 밥, 요리 하는 이야기만 나오면 주저없이 그 자리에서 망치비디오 틀어요. 맛있는 한국요리를 너무도 쉽게, 재밌게, 귀엽게 하는 망치님의 왕 팬이거든요. 기분 꿀꿀한 날엔 망치레시피 쭈루룩~ 틀어보고 그날 저녁때 맛있는 식사 준비하면 진짜 삘링 캡! 우리 애들, 남편, 다 망치에게 빅 땡쓰 하고 있음 :D
    So, I have another church small group dinner meeting at my house tomorrow and my husband and I have already decided that we are going to go simple this time and serve 닭칼국수, your chicken noodle soup. It’s so foolproof and the soup stock is absolutely delish! We usually do Brazilian style steak and salsa or Korean BBQ but this time I think it will be a nice change to give some Korean comfort-food of hearty soup and noodles. To go with that, I will serve this fishcake snack and they will literally 뿅 가! I can see it now… 음하하하하!! ^<^… They already know you from my raving about your channel before, and one of them told me she watches your videos while she's waiting during her kids' music lessons for dinner ideas. I dare say I have a similar personality to yours but a bit more 엽기적, and I think I've said it in my comment before and I'll say it again – I'm gonna make you my best friend one day!! 그날이 올때까지.. take care and God Bless you in everything you do.♡♡

    (0)
    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 4th, 2014 at 11:51 am | # |

      Hi Helen,
      Thank you so much for your nice message! I can picture your cooking and sharing your delicious Korean food with your friends and family! I’d like to meet you someday, too! Through food, you are already my best friend even though we have never met each other. Cheers!

      (0)
  34. Abraham_Hsu Los Angeles, CA joined 5/14
    Posted May 1st, 2014 at 1:46 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    This recipe looks so good!! No wonder fish cakes are quite expensive at restaurants, lots of seafood!

    I want to ask, what if I don’t have potato starch or sweet potato starch? I don’t want to buy this ingredient because I know I will barely use it all all, except for this recipe.

    Thank you!!

    (0)
    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 1st, 2014 at 12:06 pm | # |

      I would use plain all purpose flour.

      (0)
  35. Ryan Germany joined 7/11
    Posted April 30th, 2014 at 9:41 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I have some questions I want to ask :

    1. Based on your video, do I need to freeze the fish before using it for this recipe ? Because from what I’ve heard, people use ice cubes when they are making meatballs (beef) to make them more chewy. Is it the same principle ?

    2. If I want the outer side (skin) to be white, should I better boil or steam them ?

    3. Can you tell me, why do you add/use oil in this recipe ? I don’t mean the oil for frying.

    Thank you. I’d definitely try this recipe.

    (0)
    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 1st, 2014 at 12:10 pm | # |

      Hi Ryan,
      It sounds like you are going to make eomuk very soon! Good luck! : )
      My answers to your questions:
      1. no, you don’t have to use frozen seafood, if you can, use fresh seafood. The reason I used frozen seafood in the video was that I wanted to show my readers how they can keep the measured seafood in the freezer and thaw it out before making fishcakes.
      2. Yes, to make it whither, you can steam it but fried eomuk is more delicious.
      3. oh, I wanted to make the mixture smoother and less sticky.

      (0)
  36. ewinner Albuquerque, NM joined 3/14
    Posted April 26th, 2014 at 2:03 am | # |

    Is there a substitute for wheat flour? We cannot have gluten in our house. :/

    You have inspired me so much, Maangchissi! ^_^ I am American, and have no Korean ancestry, but I love Korean food. Your videos are very helpful, and your enthusiasm is infectious!

    Kamsahamnida! ^_^

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 1st, 2014 at 12:11 pm | # |

      If I were you, I would use rice flour. Good luck! : )

      (0)
  37. michele joined 5/10
    Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 3:53 pm | # |

    Would it be ok to substitute more fish for the shrimp and squid? I cannot eat shrimp and squid due to an allergy ;)

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    • Sali joined 6/12
      Posted April 28th, 2014 at 6:20 am | # |

      I would also like to know this. For me it is not allergy, but simply the fact that squid doesn’t exist in my cold, cold country. :( It is not sold frozen either.

      I went to the fish counter this morning and bought bream. It is a tasty fish, but full of tiny bones. So it is very good for recipes like this where the meat is processed – no more tiny bones! Please let me know if it is possible to make this without squid!

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      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
        Posted May 1st, 2014 at 12:17 pm | # |

        This is my best ratio for the recipe so far, but you can do some experiments to make good eomuk. As long as the eomuk turns out a little elastic, I think it’s good eomuk. Good luck!

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      • Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13
        Posted May 2nd, 2014 at 12:05 am | # |

        You can omit the squid but you need to add more starch powder to make it chewy, and rest it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

        Sorry Maangchi! that’s how I make my eomuk with no squid.

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  38. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13
    Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 11:24 am | # |

    Maangchi ssi,

    The way you make eomuk is different from how I make them but I also like your recipe. I tried it this afternoon and have some for lunch drizzled with extra sauce I made for yangnyeom tongdak. It was delish. I save the rest to make tokpokki for my kids.

    Sorry I never remember to take picture, will take it next time I make refill.

    kamsahamida,

    Ima

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 11:58 am | # |

      Hi Ima,
      wow, so fast! I just posted this recipe last night! I’m happy to hear that it turned out delicious! Great!

      (0)

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