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)


  • 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 kosher 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



  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, kosher 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 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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  1. Minh Ta Australia joined 6/14 & has 1 comment

    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 :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,049 comments

      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!

  2. Kevin92 Vietnam joined 6/14 & has 1 comment

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

    • TaraMaiden Nottinghamshire, England joined 12/16 & has 26 comments

      I would say not. It’s too fibrous and obviously a different colour. You need a good, solid meaty white fish. You can try tuna, but I think it will be too fibrous….Experiment. That’s what cooking is all about. Trying something new!

  3. blk256 United States joined 6/14 & has 1 comment

    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 :)

  4. pocket_ninja Seattle, WA joined 6/14 & has 1 comment

    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?


  5. jaylivg Houston joined 7/10 & has 107 comments

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

  6. Sarah2 Singapore joined 6/14 & has 1 comment

    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!

  7. ewhaag New Mexico joined 5/14 & has 1 comment

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

  8. Kjbehr Sacramento, CA joined 5/14 & has 1 comment

    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!

  9. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,049 comments

    Usually I go to Chinatown to shop fresh fish but that day I went to 9th Ave fish market.

  10. HelenKang Northridge, CA joined 5/14 & has 1 comment

    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.♡♡

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,049 comments

      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!

  11. Abraham_Hsu Los Angeles, CA joined 5/14 & has 1 comment

    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!!

  12. Ryan Germany joined 7/11 & has 14 comments

    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.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,049 comments

      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.

  13. ewinner Albuquerque, NM joined 3/14 & has 2 comments

    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! ^_^

  14. michele joined 5/10 & has 2 comments

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

    • Sali joined 6/12 & has 12 comments

      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!

  15. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13 & has 82 comments

    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.



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