Published on 1/8/2021 Modified on 8/5/2022
This Korean Spicy Fish Cake Stir-Fry (Eomuk Bokkeum) is loaded with the best flavors: spicy, savory, and sweet! Good enough to eat by itself but makes perfect banchan for any day of the week! Be sure to get your rice ready just in case!
Eomuk Bokkeum, also known as fish cake stir-fry, is one of a popular side dish from Korea. There are many variations to this side dish, however the two main types are the spicy and the non-spicy versions. Once you tasted a sample of this spicy Eomuk Bokkeum, you may end up clearing the whole plate! If you are a big fan of spicy tteokbokki, you will also love this recipe!!
What is eomuk bokkeum?
Eomuk means fish cake and Bokkeum means stir fry. Eomuk is typically made with a mix of mild flavored fish, starch and vegetables. It’s first made into a paste, then steamed or deep fried. I have once tried making this at home, and it sure was a lot of work!!
What does eomuk/fish cake look like?
Eomuk comes in variety of shapes and colors! Some are round like meatballs, some are cylindrical, some are elongated, cubed and some are flat rectangles. They also come in different colors and flavors. Some have more vegetables than others and some even have octopus chunks!!
Their color ranges from white, yellow, tan, pink and brown. The ones you use for this recipe is the tan colored ones. I want to say the texture reminds me of fried tofu that’s been pressed out. They are thin and flexible enough to pass through the skewer sticks.
But for this recipe, I used the flat rectangular ones. They measure around 4″x6″ in size and about 1/8″ thickness. (These are just my eyeball estimation) You can find them in the freezer section of Asian grocery stores. They are very affordable and long lasting in the freezer!!
What does eomuk taste like?
They have a combination of sweet, salty, savory and seafood flavor all together. But they don’t have a strong fish scent. You can also add rice wine and more greens to reduce the fish scent.
Is eomuk same as odeng?
Yes, Odeng and Eomuk is essentially the same. You will hear Koreans say odeng more often than eomuk. It’s more of a slang word. But in books, the proper Korean word for fish cake is eomuk.
You may have heard of odeng gook. It’s a fish cake soup boiled in dashi stock. They are typically displayed on the long skewers and sold next to tteokbokki, another popular street vendor food.
Where did odeng originate from?
There was one type of Japanese food that adapted well with the Koreans during the Japanese occupation. It was called oden, which meant fish cake in Japanese. You can guess from there, oden remained popular even after Japanese left. Eventually Koreans called fish cake “odeng“.
What’s the benefit of dunking eomuk in hot water?
This process is not necessary, but it will help get rid of the oils from the eomuk and unwanted scent. Again, if you like the eomuk flavor as is, skip this step. Make sure you only let eomuk sit in hot water no more than 30 seconds. Otherwise you will loose too much of its flavor!!
Can you eat cold eomuk?
You can technically eat eomuk cold, however, I recommend heating eomuk before eating it. Although they are packed as precooked fish cake, it will taste so much better and have better texture after being cooked.
Can you store the spicy fish cake stir-fry?
Since Eomuk Bokkeum is a stir-fried dish with a spicy sauce, it can last in the fridge longer than other side dishes. But I would say no more than 4 days. If you see the texture change from chewy to very soft, it’s best to discard it.
What pairs well with eomuk bokkeum?
This dish can be eaten alone with hot rice or paired with other Korean side dishes and meats. Eomuk Bokkeum is also a popular side dish for packing into bento boxes or doshirak. Here are some of my suggested dishes:
- Soy Sauce: Sempio Soy Sauce. I use this in most of my cooking! Low in sodium and high in flavoring! Long lasting as well!
- 100% Sesame oil: Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil. My all time favorite! Intense flavoring and very clean! Long lasting and the flavor is always consistent!!
- Sesame seeds: Assi Roasted Sesame Seeds
Did you enjoy this recipe?
Did you enjoy this Korean Spicy Fish Cake Stir-Fry recipe? Check out some of my other delicious recipes:
Korean Spicy Fish Cake Stir-Fry, Eomuk Bokkeum
- 6 sheets frozen fish cake, Korean eomuk/odeng cut
- ½ onion, medium size slice
- 1 Korean green pepper slice
- ⅓ carrot, medium julienne
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp water
- ½~1 Tbsp gochujang, spicy pepper paste
- 1 Tbsp gochugaru, hot chili pepper flakes coarse
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1½ Tbsp corn syrup
- 3 Tbsp scallion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Korean soy sauce
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ Tbsp sesame oil
- Into a mixing bowl, place 6 frozen fish cake sheets. Pour boiling water into the mixing bowl, enough to submerge. After 30 seconds, take out the fish cake sheets and place on a strainer to cool.
- Slice and chop all the vegetables and place it on a tray. Set aside.
- Make the spicy sauce and set aside. Measure 3 Tbsp of water in a small bowl, set aside.
- Chop the fish cake sheets into triangles. Place it next to the vegetable tray.
- Heat a non-stick pan to med-high heat. Once hot, add oil. Then add the fish cake, onion, carrot, green pepper. Stir fry for about 3-4 min, or until the fish cake is golden brown.
- Pour the sauce into the pan and quickly stir fry for about 1 min. Add water and cook for 1 additional minute. Turn off heat.
- Garnish with sesame seeds. Enjoy with hot rice!!