Eomuk Bokkeum 어묵 볶음 (Stir Fried Fish Cakes)

I’m not a big fan of making banchan (side dishes) for my home meals, but I love all the banchan that are gloriously spread out in front of you when out and about at various Korean restaurants. Making them at home can be such a hassle, and even worse, washing all the little dishes afterwards is enough to stick to my rice + main meal combination. But in the hopes of eating healthier and lighter, I thought I’d add more banchan to my diet. I must admit this side dish, eomuk bokkeum, is not one of the healthier dishes in Korean cooking, but it is one of the tastiest and is so easy to make. Not long ago, I actually made this as a main dish while volunteering at a local food pantry and I couldn’t believe how good it tasted. The fish cakes had a lovely sweet, salty, and savory combination while the texture was soft and a little spongy, making it a perfect side with plain white rice and other side dishes. When I asked what was in the sauce, the ajummas (Korean housewives) honestly answered by telling me they added some MSG (as my friend puts it, “Mmmmm, So Good!) in addition to the basic ingredients of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and red peppers. My version excludes MSG (didn’t have on hand), but I can say with confidence that the taste was spot on and possibly even better. If you’re in need of a side dish, I highly recommend this one.

A little more about eomuk bokkeum: An excellent Korean side dish that can be made in a short amount of time. Basic ingredients include fish cakes, carrots, onions, and green onions, but other vegetables like paprika and potatoes work equally as well. This is a common side dish for lunch boxes, and it can keep for several weeks refrigerated so perfect for future meals. If you like spicy food, adding more gochugaru (red pepper flakes) is encouraged. Lastly, another common name for this dish is odeng bokkeum. Odeng is a borrowed word from the Japanese form oden; in Korean it is called eomuk.

“I know the human being and fish can co-exist peacefully.”  ~ George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States

 

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Cut the fish cakes, carrots, and onions into strips, set aside.
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Prepare the sauce in a mixing bowl. Adjust the taste to your liking.
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Throw them all in a non-stick pan with some olive oil and saute away. About a few minutes in, add the sauce ingredients and continue sauteing.
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When it’s all said and done (total time about 10 minutes), it should look slightly sticky with the fish cakes glazed by the sugar and syrup.
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Eomuk bokkeum finally finished and ready to eat!!

 

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I love eomuk bokkeum as a side dish with plain rice and some greens. Good stuff!

 

Eomuk Bokkeum 어묵 볶음 (Stir Fried Fish Cakes)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 14 oz. package eomuk (fish cakes)
  • ½ carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2, 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp mulyeot (corn syrup)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp cooking wine (or Mirin)
  • 1 sesame seeds (garnish)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp gochugaru (red pepper flakes; optional)
  • dash of salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the fish cakes into strips or according to personal preference. Cut carrots and onion into thin slices.
  2. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the fish cakes for a few minutes and then add the onion and carrots. Cook no more than 5 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients for the sauce and sample. It should taste sweet and salty; adjust according to preference.
  4. Add the sauce to the fried fish cakes and vegetables.
  5. Fry for a few more minutes until well coated with sauce.
  6. Enjoy with rice as a banchan (side dish).

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