Living abroad sometimes gives you challenges in life – especially when it comes to cooking. If you get hungry for a certain food, but cannot get the right ingredients for it, substitutes will just have to make do. Today, I will introduce one of my substitutes. In Korea, people eat a steamed dried fish that has a special sauce topping during big holidays such as Lunar New Year (Seolnal) or Thanksgiving (Chuseok). The dish is rather simple, especially for a holiday food. When I say “dried fish,” you might imagine a dried fish filet or a bag of shredded dried fish. However, in this case, it is a whole dried fish minus the head and guts. I could not get that here so I tried to make that dish with frozen tilapia fillets, which are easily found in these parts of the world. I’m happy to share my successful experiment with you. I love the way it turned out, especially the texture of the fish and the delicious sauce on top. Try it someday. 🙂
Yield: 3 Pieces
Short Korean Lesson
- GungGeumHaDa (궁금하다) = Wonder (Verb)
- SaengGakHaDa (생각하다) = Think (Verb)
Obtain 3 Tilapia fillets (½ lb). You can use either frozen or fresh. If they are frozen, thaw them completely and wipe the extra moisture off with a paper towel. Since you will eat this fish with sauce, you do not have to season or salt them.
Obtain about ¼ cup of all-purpose flour. Cover the fish with flour evenly. This is a secret for getting a crispy texture and nice flavor.
Fry the fish in an oiled (2 Tbsp cooking oil) nonstick pan on medium-high.
Meanwhile mix together all the ingredients for the sauce: 1 Tbsp soy sauce, ½ Tbsp water, ½ Tbsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp hot pepper powder, 1 tsp minced garlic, ½ tsp sesame oil, 2 pinches sugar. If you like a lot of sauce for your fish, you can double the sauce ingredients.
Fry one side for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip the fish and fry for another 5 minutes.
Spread some of the sauce on top of the fish evenly.
Garnish by sprinkling some finely chopped green onion on top of the sauce.
The crispy outside, and soft inside, tastes great with the savory sauce. It is very delicious. You can substitute the tilapia with your favorite white fish. Enjoy!