January 30, 2015
We’re back from Japan! We missed our animals so much and Spudgy actually tried to jump up into my arms but since he can’t jump he just headbutt my leg and bounced off and slid to the ground. What a sweet boy! Meemers sat up in his bed and was like, “oh did you leave or something? I’m a cat. I don’t care.” Cats. We have a few Japan vlogs that we filmed for you guise, including a FAPFAP on the best beef in the world…Kobe beef.
Okay so don’t be freaked out by the title. A Korean Fish Cake (also know as 어묵 oh-mook or 오뎅 o-daeng) is not a sweet dessert cake, it’s a savoury fish noodle…thingy. Trying to spell 어묵 in romanization is really tough because the 어 sound does not have an equivalent sound in English. It’s kindof a cross between OH and UHHH making an EOH sound. I see it spelt as Eomuk online but if you don’t read Korean, you’ll pronounce it as EE-O-MUCK which isn’t right. SIGH. It’s a complicated word!
Even though 어묵 is the Korean word for fish cakes almost everyone in Korean, including the food stands, list it as 오뎅. It’s an easier word to remember if you think like this: “OH DANG guuuuurl, you looking hot tonight!” Get it? Odaeng! OH DANG!!! Ahem. Anyhow, due to the occupation of Korea by Japan back in the day, some Japanese words have been left behind such as Oden おでん which is the Japanese equivalent of Odaeng. Some Korean Nationalists will get angry if you use Korean words based off of Japanese words which is why I’m including both words so you can learn the difference: 어묵 is the totally Korean word and 오뎅 the borrowed Japanese word. But honestly, most people don’t care which word you use so don’t feel worried.
It was really hard to find a recipe for Korean fish cake, but I found one on Maangchi’s awesome Korean food site and I then adjusted it according to my own taste. I really like shrimp so I added more of that, but if you don’t like it just replace it with more of whatever flavour you like. Want a less shrimpy taste? Replace the amount of shrimp for more white fish. The ratios of fish can be adjusted according to what you have around but don’t mess around with the egg, flour, and potato starch. It’s needed to bind all the ingredients and to make a type of bouncy texture. Making this is very very easy and requires almost no skill. HAHAHAHA! Just make sure you’ve gotten rid of all the crunchy bits. They need to be deveined, deboned, shelled, skinned, and you need to remove the squid ink sacs and beak. Just remove and everything in advance so it blends smoothly in the food processor. Hopefully you have a fish monger that can do all those steps for you.
Into the Food Processor:
220g white fish fillet (about one medium fish deboned and skinned, any firm white fish will work)
1 small squid (about the size of your hand)
8 medium sized shrimp
2-4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon oil
¼ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup potato starch (or sweet potato starch)
1 large egg
For deep frying:
3 cups of oil for cooking
Extra oil for brushing onto a flipper
1 chopped medium hot pepper
2-3 slices of processed cheese cut into finger width strips
Wok or Cooking Pot
A Spatula, a Wide Flipper, and a Knife
Brush for Oil
Paper towel on a plate or drip tray for oil
1. Dump all the ingredients except for the flour into a food processor. Give it a couple spins to chop up the fish into tiny bits.
2. Once the fish is chopped up, add both flours and blend until everything comes together into a thick smooth paste. It might have a few tiny chunks of fish, that’s okay.
3. Add 3 cups of cooking oil in a wok or a cooking pot over medium high heat and wait until the oil hits 330-350°F/180° C. Use a thermometer for this part or else the oil won’t be hot enough and the fish cake will absorb the oil and be disgusting and greasy. While this is heating prepare a paper towel on a plate (or if you have a little grease drip rack) so that you can place your cool your fishcake when it comes out of the oil.
TWO OPTIONS FOR COOKING:
-You can drop the paste into the hot oil as if you were making a dumpling by using two tablespoon brushed with oil. Scoop up a tablespoon of paste and using the other spoon, scoop it off the first spoon. Repeat this method a couple times passing the paste back and forth between these two spoons until your fish paste looks like a little ball.
-Second option is what I did in the video and what the street food stands in Korea do. Brush the flipper with oil and using a spatula and spread the fish paste evenly onto it. Then take the knife and roll the fish cake into a tube shape. If you want to add cheese, put a thin strip into the middle of the paste before you roll it up.
4. Bring the flipper closer to the wok and tip the tube of fish cake into the hot oil carefully so it doesn’t splash up and hot oil murder you. MURDER OIL IS HOT.
5. Cook for about 5-7 minutes flipping over occasionally so that it gets golden brown on all sides. Make sure your oil is still at the right temperature and not getting crazy hot or it will cook too quickly on the outside!
6. Remove the fishcake and place them on your oil drip station. Ta-da! Finished! Bite into it now and burn the inside of your mouth like eating a pizza pocket…so let it cool.
-You can eat them on their own by just dipping it in a light soy sauce or a sweet chilli sauce.
-You can slice them up and add them to your instant ramen or (any asian noodle soup).
I hope you get a chance to make this recipe, it tastes a lot like those boxed frozen fish cakes I used to put in the oven and eat as a kid. I know a lot of Asian cooking has a type of fish cake or fish ball that they use in their soups so I’m curious if this recipe sounds totally normal and familiar to you or if it’s totally foreign! Let me know in the comment section below, and please post photos if you decide to make it. I’d love to hear any adjustments to the recipe or any tips and tricks. Happy cooking!