I’ve always thought it is very interesting how different food is all over the world! American food is definitely very, very different from traditional Korean food. Although many Koreans are more open to western food nowadays, but I think they still prefer their own food, just like Americans or anyone would prefer their own kind of food.
What I’m trying to say here is that I think most of you (unless you come from an Asian country) probably have tried these Asian version of fish cake before… These are called “Oden” (the name is originally Japanese and Koreans called these Odeng for many years until recently, they named these “Umook” which is a pure Korean word for fish cake.
There are many different ways to enjoy Umook (Oden in Japanese). I will share different recipes using these fish cakes soon. But first, here is a great, spicy way to enjoy them. Fish cakes can be found in many Asian grocery stores. They are quite popular in Asian countries. I used to get Oden Soup at a lot of street venders all the time, especially during the long, harsh winters in Korea. Oden is relatively easy to get – you will just have to make a trip to an Asian market (preferably Korean or Japanese grocery stores) to get them. You can get a big bag of these for about $6-8.
Asian fish cakes come in different shapes. There are all kinds of shapes, from round to square, rectangle, triangle, etc. You take a pick and use whatever kind you like/want. I got some round ones. They are easy to handle and pretty, too. The sauce was tangy and spicy at the same time and I loved every bite of these. They make a great appetizer or a snack! If you like Korean flavors with a little western flavor like ketchup for tangy-ness.
- 1 lb Korean or Japanese fish cake (oden)
- For the sauce: 2 tablespoons Gochujang
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce (chipotle flavor or your favorite flavor)
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons mulyeot (Korean corn syrup) or Oligodang (올리고당)
- 2 tablespoons rice wine (sake)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 green onion, chopped
- sesame seeds to sprinkle
- Bring sufficient water to boiling. Add the fish cake and cook until the fish cake are soft, about 3-5 minutes. Drain water. Skewer fish cake pieces, 4-5 on each skewer, repeat until all fish cake are skewered.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the gochujang, hot sauce, ketchup, mulyeot, rice wine, and garlic together and stir well.
- Heat the sauce in small saucepan over low heat and simmer the sauce until heated through.
- Brush the sauce over skewered fish cake evenly. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds and serve warm.
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