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



  1. MCSEman Egypt joined 9/10 & has 3 comments

    I like your video very much
    I’m from Egypt and I want to make this amazing soup
    I found (kelp) after deep searching in our supermarkets, but it is Chinese and it’s name: seaweed
    It has different shape than kelp, it looks like this: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4102/4780645493_e60f248328_z.jpg
    Can I use it instead of kelp.


    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,947 comments

      Thank you for your question. The seaweed is different from kelp. Besides you will have to use dried kelp to make delicious stock. To make maeuntang (spicy fish soup), skip dried kelp if it’s not available. As long as your fish is fresh, the soup will be very tasty.

      BTW, the seaweed in the photo of the link you gave me is miyuk julgi (seaplant stems). I posted this recipe. Get the ingredient and make miyukjulgi bokkeum. Let me know how it turns out if you make it later

  2. Just_Tina Washington DC Metro Area joined 7/10 & has 8 comments

    Hi, y’all. Does any one know of or have a recipe for Sungeoguk? Apparently it’s a (nonspicy) trout soup from North Korea (Pyongyang). There was a similar soup made on the K-Drama “Gourmet”. It looked totally DELISH; my mouth just watered. If not, I wouldn’t mind creating my own recipe. Any ideas or suggestions to get me started? Many thanks!

  3. rhealities Mississauga, ON joined 3/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi!

    I made this a couple of weeks ago from your recipe – its absolutely delish! kamsahamnida =)

  4. formulaic korea joined 2/10 & has 1 comment

    I was unsure of what cooking wine is, so found this link:


    It suggests not to use cooking wine, but rather always use a wine you would drink. I’d be interested in your opinion:)

  5. Bolor& has 1 comment

    Hi I really like your recipes. Their so simple easy to cook. I cook your spicy fish soup for my husband it was good.(little spicy for us)
    Thank you very much.

  6. There is a soup I always get with my auntie in south Los Angeles that looks like the soft tofu soup, but has some kind of white fish cut crosswise with mussels and clams, is this the same as maeuntang or what seafood soup would it be?

  7. Starving Man& has 5 comments

    Hi Maangchi, I was wondering if redsnapper is the traditional fish used in this stew. Is there an alternative to cod and snapper? My wife made this out of rainbow trout and it wasn’t very well received.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,947 comments

      You could replace red snapper with other kinds of fish except for cod. : ) Cod flesh is so soft that it’s easily broken when you boil it. The recipe for cod maewoontang is different from red snapper maewoontang.

      You could use a croaker, flounder,or flatfish instead of red snapper for this recipe. Good luck with making delicious maewoontang!

  8. jonnel a orapa& has 1 comment

    thanks for this website

  9. josh& has 28 comments

    annyeong maangchi
    i bought this bottle of wine(i think) and it says 백세주
    and i was wondering if i could use it here.
    and if not wat are other uses for baek se ju
    cant wait for your future recipes ^o^

  10. EMie& has 2 comments

    Hey Maangchi
    I was wondering, when you soaked the clams overnight did you leave it out or put it in the fridge? Also Do you have a substitute for kelp?

  11. Amber& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangachi unni ^^
    I was wondering if the fish could be substituted for a crab (i like your recipe for the broth..!) and would it be close to an authentic ggot gae tang (crab soup)? Or..would that not taste right?
    Any suggestions would be great too!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,947 comments

      You can use crabs, but authentic ggotgaetang (crab stew) recipe is a little different from fish maewoontang. I will post the recipe later. Thanks!

  12. Ben Sargent& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    I was wondering is tofu the major difference between SoonDubu and Maeun-tang? Thanks, -BenbimBahp

  13. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,947 comments

    oh, you are in Singapore. Did you check the forum “where do you get Korean ingredients” section? I’m copying and pasting it here:

    I found some Korean grocery stores in Singapore on the internet

    1. Korean mart:
    20 North Canal Road Tel: 6538-9801
    2. Korean trading mart:
    163 Tras Street #01-01 (LianHuat Building)
    Tel: 6324-5016
    or 6324-5017
    3. Samjin store:
    37 Malan Road Tel: 6777-4988

    These all 3 stores say that they can provide delivery service

  14. ken& has 2 comments

    o thanks for the reply.. i replaced the pepper flakes to paste and it turns out nice.
    i got another question for you, i am now in singapore and cant find the vegetable in your recipe here in singapore. if it can be found than where can i find it, if not than do you have any other types of vegetable to substitute that i can find in singapore?

  15. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,947 comments

    Yes, you can,

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