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The Washington Post

Korean Spicy Fish Stew (Mae Un Tang)

Korean Spicy Fish Stew (Mae Un Tang) 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Jun 25, 2014

This is Korean comfort food: a hearty yet delicate fish soup. If you are buying a fish head rather than using one from a whole fish, ask your fishmonger for the "rack" or fish skeleton as well.

Ingredient-wise, the daikon radish, zucchini and chili peppers are a must. But you can add whatever other vegetables you like, including soybean sprouts, pumpkin, mushrooms and watercress, as well as other shellfish, such as oysters and clams.

Make Ahead: The soup is best served the same day it's made.


Servings:
4

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 large fish head (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 fish rack (optional; see headnote)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 block (7 ounces) firm tofu
  • 8 ounces daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces that are 1/8-inch thick
  • 1/2 zucchini, halved lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeded if desired, then cut thinly on the bias
  • 1 small green chili pepper, seeded if desired, then cut thinly on the bias
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into strips
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon regular or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean crushed red chili pepper powder)
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste)
  • 4 ounces edible chrysanthemum leaves (optional)
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions

Rinse the fish head and pat it dry.

Use your fingers and/or a small paring knife to extract any flesh from fish head and the collar. If you are also using a fish rack, you can extract a significant amount of flesh from it by holding one end and strumming your fingers along the bones. Reserve all of the flesh in a bowl.

Place the picked-over fish head and rack in a stockpot, then add the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook for 10 minutes, turning the head over once during that time. (If you like, you can use a spoon to remove the fish cheeks about halfway through cooking. Add them to the flesh reserved from the head and collar.)

Meanwhile, wrap the tofu in paper towels and use a heavy plate to weight it (to help extract any liquid).

Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a separate pot; discard the bones. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the radish, zucchini, chili peppers, sweet onion, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, gochukaru and gojuchang; reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6 or 7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the reserved fish flesh; cook for about 2 minutes or until it is tender and opaque.

Unweight/unwrap the tofu and cut it into large cubes. Add them and the edible chrysanthemum, if using, to the pot; cook for 2 to 3 minutes without stirring.

Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide among individual bowls. Garnish each portion with the cilantro. Serve hot.


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Recipe Source

Adapted by author Paul Greenberg from a recipe by About.com Korean food expert Naomi Imatome-Yun.

Tested by Helen Horton.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (using low-sodium soy sauce): 190


% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 6g 9%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 10mg 3%

Sodium: 550mg 23%

Total Carbohydrates: 21g 7%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 8g

Protein: 17g


*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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