Spicy fish stew

Maeuntang 매운탕

If you love seafood and spicy stews, I’m sure you’ll absolutely love this one, called maeuntang in Korean and spicy fish stew (or soup) in English. It can be made with pretty much any type of fish but most importantly the fish should be fresh! In this recipe and video I use black sea bass, or nongeo in Korean, so this dish would specifically be called nongeo-maeuntang.

On a recent trip to Montauk, Long Island I was lucky to get fresh-caught black sea bass right off the dock, as soon as the fisherman brought it in. I know a lot of you won’t be able to find fish that fresh, so in your local fish market choose a fish with clear eyes and a firm body. Make sure it isn’t smelly at all and has red gills on the inside. You may have to open the fish head a bit to check the color of the gills. If they’re brownish, don’t pick that fish. White fleshed fish is best for making maeuntang, so flounder, fluke, yellow corvina, and red snapper will all work well, but any kind of fish will be good, as long as it’s fresh.

Maeuntang is one of Koreans’ most-loved seafood dishes. Most Korean households have all these seasonings on hand, so it’s a great way to share a delicious, fresh fish with friends and family. It’s easy to make and the savory, spicy stew sits in the middle of the table and everyone can enjoy it together.

Ingredients (serves 3 to 4)

  • 2½ pounds cleaned whole fish (black sea bass, cod, pollock, flounder, fluke), cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 pound Korean radish (or daikon) sliced into ⅛ inch thin bite sized pieces
  • 7-8 large dried anchovies, with heads and guts removed and placed in a stock pouch (or soup strainer, or tied up in cheesecloth)
  • 1 dae-pa (or 4 to 5 green onions), sliced diagonally
  • 1 large green chili pepper, sliced
  • 1 red chili pepper, optional but if you use, sliced diagonally
  • 4-5 sprigs of chrysanthemum greens (substitute with a few basil sprigs)

For the seasoning paste:


Make seasoning paste:

  1. Combine the seasoning paste ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix it well with a spoon. Set aside.mix seasoning paste

Make maeuntang:

  1. Combine the radish, dried anchovies, and 8 cups of water in a large pot.pour water
  2. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over medium high heat until the radish turns a little soft.
  3. Add the fish and about half of the seasoning paste.add fish
  4. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes over medium high heat until the fish is fully cooked.
  5. Remove the anchovy pouch and add green chili pepper and green onion. Taste the soup and add more paste if you want it spicier and saltier.
  6. Gently stir the stew a few times with a wooden spoon and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and add the chrysanthemum greens and red chili peppers.


  1. Serve with rice, kimchi, and a few other side dishes, if you have them.
  2. You can put the stew in the middle of the table, with a ladle. Provide bowls for each person and ladle some of the stew into each bowl.
  3. Provide an empty bowl for bones. As people eat the fish they can discard the bones there.

Maeuntang (spicy fish stew)maeuntang bapsang

Leave your rating:

So far this is rated 5/5 from 16977 votes

Be the first to rate this.


  1. BeelzeBabe Finland joined 9/18 & has 9 comments

    Hi Maangchi! It’s impossible to find garland chrysanthemum here in Finland – would it be okay to replace it with arugula/rocket/rucola, for a similar fresh green and slightly spicy kick? Love all your fish recipes – I’m hoping making this soup will kick this seasonal flu I’ve got to the curb, hahaha!

  2. LiljaS Iceland joined 3/18 & has 16 comments

    This recipe is one I’ve wanted to try for a long time. I got my hands on some ssukgat so I went to the fish market and decided to buy a fish called Ling which belongs to the cod family. It’s not a very popular fish for some reason, but pretty cheap and very good. It’s firmer than cod and a bit fatter and is considered very suitable for fish soups and stews. It’s very big so I just bought half a fish and made sure to have the head. I also added some enoki mushrooms.

    I love the taste, I bet this is a wonderful soup on a cold winter day. Now summer is starting here in Iceland so the sun is shining even if it’s not particularly warm. The soup makes me feel so energetic, I like spicy food and I love good soups and stews.

    See full size image

  3. SanFranciscoTreat San Francisco joined 2/19 & has 1 comment

    It has been cold and rainy in San Francisco for the past two weeks, and I’ve been craving a dish that was warm, spicy and nourishing. This was that dish. I used a combination of red snapper and shrimp, and radish and zucchini. This was my first Maangchi recipe and won’t be my last. Thank you!!! This was the BEST.

    • Myeonmyeon Argentina joined 10/17 & has 2 comments

      I used this recipe to make a vegetarian/vegan version (I know, “why would you choose a fish-centered recipe to make it vegetarian”, well, I was feeling like having a stew of this style but with no meat of course). I used fried tofu triangles, the ones you can buy pre-fried at the Asian grocery store. I like them for stews and stir-fries cause they become really chewy and juicy as they cook. And to compensate for the lack of fish I used stock made with kelp, shiitake mushrooms, onion and Daikon radish to help enhance the flavor. I adjusted the amounts but kept the rest of the recipe as is and the result was great! We had it with rice and side dishes and I forgot to take a picture, maybe tomorrow when I have leftovers I will. Hopefully someone looking for more vegetarian recipe ideas will find the experience I shared useful!

  4. Lexamun Japan joined 1/19 & has 1 comment

    Another fantastic recipe! I’ve been following your blog for a few years now but always felt intimidated to share my recreations with you

    See full size image

  5. martik777 Vancouver, BC Canada joined 12/18 & has 2 comments

    I make this with fish heads but there are so many small bones after cooking!

  6. cookiemint London joined 4/17 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchiiiiiiiii,
    I saw this video and made it immediately for my sister. SHE LOVES ITTTT. She was working a very busy day till 10pm. When she ate Maeuntang, she said she felt revived straight away. My sister has not been a fan of Korean food, but I’ve been making her a lot of your recipes and now she can’t get enough of korean food. She keeps telling me to make Japchae and kimbap whenever I have free time hahaha.
    Thank you so much for this recipe!

    See full size image

  7. EireannLily Durham joined 3/18 & has 1 comment

    Can you use canned clams in place of fresh? Sadly I can’t find any fresh clams in any stores near me =(

More comments to read! Jump to page: 1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply

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