Today I’ll show you how to make kimchi stew with canned mackerel. When I was in university in Seoul, I often went on short camping trips with my best friends. This stew was among our repertoire of simple side dishes that we knew how to make. We always had it with rice, sharing it with each other until the rice was gone and the pot was empty.

I can’t help but feel nostalgic when I make this dish: I miss my old friends, and my university days. What fun we had! One of us would cut the potato, another would clean and cut the onion, and another would prep the can of saury or mackerel. The stew and rice seemed to cook in no time at all, as we never stopped chatting and laughing.

Soon enough it was: “Yay, let’s eat!” Yummy yummy omul omul we were eating together and chatting the whole time.

You can use canned herrings, tuna, or canned salmon in this recipe. The nice thing about canned fish is that it transports well in your backpack, and you can eat the fishbones, which get totally soft in the can. They’re totally chewable and full of calcium!

You could also use fresh fish if you wanted. Fresh mackerel or saury would work well, but just be sure to remove the bones first before eating!

This video was shot a few weeks ago at YouTube in Los Angeles, with my new friend Jenn from the YouTube channel Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio. We had a lot of fun making the video, and she loved the stew a lot. After that she showed me how to make a fruit pizza on her backpacking oven. It was a great day of cooking and filming.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1¼ cup fermented kimchi, chopped
  • 1 onion (about 1 cup), chopped
  • 1 medium size potato, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 green chili pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can of saury or mackerel


  1. Combine the kimchi, onion, potato, garlic, green chili pepper in a pot. Add the gochujang and mix well with a spoon.kimchi mackerel camping stew
    kimchi mackerel camping stew
  2. Add a can of mackerel or saury, and the water.
    kimchi camping stew
  3. Close the lid and boil over medium high heat for 15 minutes. Stir and mix with a spoon.  Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with rice.kimchi mackerel camping stew

Leave your rating:

So far this is rated 5/5 from 231 votes

Be the first to rate this.


  1. it really good. I was sick and left alone.
    I wonder what Mangchi would cook with the mackeral. then I found this menu.
    Yummy and give me a lot of energy. I also have some perrila leaves so I wrap them like a roll. It also good with cucumber and avocado too.
    Thanks you.

    See full size image

  2. SynKatt USA joined 11/14 & has 1 comment

    This looks so good and i wanted to make it for dinner tonight, but i have a couple questions.
    1) can i use cubed radish kimchi instead of the cabbage kind?
    2) can this be frozen after cooking?

    Thanks so much! 😺

  3. xerathemum KY, USA joined 4/14 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, I made this stew today for my grandmother and I, and we loved it! It’s so tasty and so simple. I’ll admit we had some reservations giving it a try, but I’m glad we did.

    Your recipes are always so amazing, keep up the great work! :D

  4. tamy23 Brasil joined 3/14 & has 4 comments

    Maangchi I can’t find canned mackerel where I live. Can I use the frozen fish insted?

  5. hotbunsandmilk Los Feliz, CA joined 3/14 & has 2 comments

    Delicious and satisfying!!! I made this for dinner yesterday and it turned out great! I had just purchased a dozen cans of the Sempio mackerel from Zion Market last weekend. They sell them at a dollar more per can, which is still cheaper than a can of salmon. I eat fish everyday, making sandwiches, fried fish cakes for breakfast, adding to salads, and yes, right out of the can with dipping sauce. I was so happy to find this recipe. A few years ago, I used to mix cabbage with onions, garlic, canned salmon, Sriracha chili sauce and a drizzling of sesame oil towards the end. To my dismay, the salmon always crumbled. Using mackerel (or similar fish) is the best way to go because it holds its shape well during the cooking time. The kimchi and gochujang gives it a depth of flavor that is so good, while the potato gives it just enough carb tease. Thank you so much for this recipe.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      You bought a dozen cans of mackerel! Holly mackerel! LOL.
      It’s really fun to read your story. “Using mackerel (or similar fish) is the best way to go because it holds its shape well during the cooking time.” I have never thought about this, yes, it makes sense!
      Good luck with your Korean cooking!

  6. jasperridge San Diego, California joined 2/14 & has 6 comments

    Holy moly, that looks good, and it combines my favorite things: kimchi, canned mackeral and camping!

  7. DomHyo Incheon, South Korea joined 8/13 & has 2 comments

    Looks great. I’m actually looking for dishes to cook for my fiancee (Korean) to surprise her. I still haven’t decided, but I think I will add this to my list of dishes to consider. Thanks for sharing!

  8. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09 & has 51 comments

    This is looks so fabulous! And easy too. I like the potatoes- makes it more substantial. This seems an easier version of your other stewed mackerel dish with radish. I’d like to try both on a camping trip! Thanks Maangchi!!!

  9. Andrew Wellington, New Zealand joined 4/11 & has 6 comments

    “Good job! I don’t want to torture you!” Hahaha Maangchi too funny! Well I like it Maangchi.

    Mackerel is such a pretty fish and it’s always in all the grocery stores. Your friend is kinda bossy but at least she knows how to peel a potato good. :-P

    Hey when you go camping like this do you bring cooked rice or you make it there?

  10. Zulumom Concord, CA joined 9/13 & has 35 comments

    This looks so delicious, Maanchi!!! And you know what? I just bought a can of saury last weekend so make this yummy soup! I’ve got some rice ready too, so this is what I’m going to make tonight!!! Can’t wait!!! Thanks for sharing such wonderful recipe!!! xoxo

  11. Fortran Alexandria, VA joined 6/11 & has 6 comments

    Mmm. Looks good! For a second I saw “camping stew” and thought we might be getting something a la budae jjigae. But I’ll take mackerel over Spam and hot dogs any day!

Leave a Reply

You must create a profile and be logged in to post a comment.