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Spicy Red Fish Stew

Spicy Red Fish Stew

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  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 14 1/2-ounce cans chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fish cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 2 pounds halibut or cod fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces

Recipe Preparation

  • Char bell peppers over flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose peppers in paper bag 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and chop peppers. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until very soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in peppers, tomatoes with juice, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in cilantro and lemon peel. Add fish; simmer until just opaque in center, about 5 minutes. Season stew to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and serve.

Recipe by Meriel MacdonaldReviews Section

Korean spicy fish stew

Usually, in a Korean restaurant, the spicy fish stew will be labeled maeuntang (매운탕). Maeuntang is made with cod, but the soup can be made with any fish. Since our version is made with pollock, it is called Dongtae Jjigae / 동태찌개.

Common seasoning ingredients are salted shrimp and anchovy sauce. It's also quite common to add shellfish into the stew or the fish stock. This means that I can no longer eat spicy fish stew in a Korean restaurant. But It also means that I have to take a few extra steps to ensure a good-tasting stew.

Since this version cannot contain any salted shrimp or anchovy sauce, we need to make umami-rich veggie stock. To do this, we will use seaweed and shiitake mushrooms.

Seaweed: Seaweed is loaded with umami. The one that we are using today is Ottogi seaweed. You can use kelp or any other seaweed that you have.

Dried shiitake mushrooms: The dried ones work better than the fresh ones.

Onion: How can you make stock without onion?

Korean radish: When in season, Korean radish or Mu adds a nice mild flavor. But in the summer they can be quite strong. If you can not get it, daikon radish will work.

To make the stock, wash the mushrooms and seaweed. Add the seaweed, mushrooms, onion, and Korean radish and cover water to a pot. Bring to a simmer and simmer for one hour. Add water as needed. For rough numbers, use 1.5 liters of water and reduce 30%. this will give you one litter of umami-rich veggie stock.

After simmering, let the veggie stock cool down, then strain. The onion and seaweed are done and can be discarded. The radish and mushrooms can be saved. The radish was used in a side dish, and the mushrooms were cut up and used in the stew.

To make a stew with pollock or "dongtae" we need some pollock. I like to buy frozen but already cleaned pollock. If you buy the whole fish, sometimes they still have scales, etc. I am just too lazy to deal with that.

To defrost and remove some of the funky smell, cover the fish with saltwater. Let the fish sit in the saltwater for one hour, then rinse off in clean water.

Korean radish: Yes we are adding more fresh Mu.

Onion: Yes we are adding more fresh onion.

Cabbage: Some folks like to add onion, which was my plan. My wife had other plans, and the onion was left out. But the choice is yours.

Bean sprouts: These look a little sad but will add a nice texture and flavor to the stew. Some folks like to add them early, but I prefer to add them later to keep some crunch.

Tofu: Tofu soaks up many flavors simmering in the rich broth. But if your not a fan of the texture, you can leave it out. But if the Korean food police arrest you for your crime against humanity, you are on your own.

Mushrooms: We like to use a variety of mushrooms. We start with the shiitake mushrooms used to make the stock then add others. Today we also added some king oyster mushrooms. Enoki or button mushrooms are also good choices.

Ssuk-gat: The herb in the picture above is called ssuk-gat (crown daisy) and has a very strong flavor. I used one bunch but my wife said I should have only used one stalk. An alternative herb that is normally found in Korean fish soups and stews is minari (water dropwort). Minari has a much fresher flavor but is harder to find.

Green onion: Yep the dish needs lots of green onion.

Spicy peppers: Today, we stuck with green Korean peppers, but the red is also a good choice. Normally we do not have the Korean ones, but jalapenos also work.

Seasoning paste: To make the cooking less stressful, I like to mix all of my seasoning ingredients before cooking. This can be done a day or two ahead of time.

Korean soybean paste: Doenjang is a fermented product with a lot of umami. It really does add a nice depth of flavor to the dish.

Soy sauce: When making doenjang is one of the byproducts. So it is also loaded with umami. On the Korean cooking blogs, they will specify soup soy sauce, which is stronger than the regular kind. But use what you have.

Korean red pepper flakes: Gochugaru is simple ground up dried chili peppers. We prefer the brands from Korea but the ones from China also work.

Korean red pepper paste: Gochujang is a fermented product of rice, peppers, and sweetener. It adds a sweet and savory element to the dish. It is an optional ingredient not everyone adds it. But since we're leaving out the salted shrimp, we need all the flavor we can get.

Ginger: Yes, lots of ginger. The flavor goes with fish and covers some of the fishy smell.

Mix the seasoning paste ingredients and have them ready when your cooking.

Korean red pepper flakes: Gochugaru, we did add some to the seasoning paste, but we will also toast some for a slightly different flavor.

Sesame oil: We will toast the gochugaru in sesame oil.

If you do not want to toast the red pepper flakes, add them and the sesame oil to your seasoning paste.

Rice flour: Optionally, you can add some rice flour mixed with water. I did have a translation error and thought it should be a Tablespoon of rice flour. But my wife said it was a teaspoon. But from now on, I will leave it out and use water from washing rice.

Toasting the red pepper flakes is straightforward. To a pan on low to medium heat add the sesame oil and the red pepper flakes.

Keep stirring until the red pepper flakes pickup some color and start to smell. But keep an eye on them, they burn quickly. If they burn toss them and start over.

When the red pepper flakes have some nice color add the onion, radish, fish, veggie stock, and enough water to almost cover the fish. In total, I used two liters of liquid—one liter of veggie stock and one little of the water from washing rice. The starch from washing the rice helps to make the stew thicker.

Bring the stew to a slow boil and add the seasoning paste. When the radish is tender, the fish should be done. This took me about twenty minutes.

After fifteen minutes, taste the stew and adjust for salt. We added one tablespoon of soy sauce and one teaspoon of sea salt. After adjusting seasoning to your liking, add the tofu, bean sprouts, and mushrooms.

Just before serving we added the ssuk-gat, green onion and peppers. Keep in mind this is a spicy dish so have lots of rice and water closeby.

Ethiopian Spicy Fish Stew with Red Onions

Assa means fish in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. A spicy stew is a w’et. You would see this dish listed on a menu or cookbook as ye’assa w’et. However keep in mind that there are probably thousands of recipes for Ethiopian spicy fish stew, and this is just one variation.

If you have your berberé prepared ahead of time this is a simple dish to make, with a short list of ingredients. The base of the stew is red onions, a vegetable seen frequently in Ethiopian foods.

If you are used to frying onions in oil to make a sauce, pay attention here. Ethiopian recipes typically call for cooking the onions in a hot skillet with no oil added. The onions will immediately begin to release their water, and if they stick to the pan you can always add a small amount of extra water. The oil is added to the pan after the onions have softened and started to turn brown.

This recipe works well with a firm, white fish such as cod. The sauce is spicy enough to stand up to a stronger tasting fish, so experiment and see what works for you. Serve this stew with the traditional Ethiopian bread, injera.

How to Make 30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe plus nutritional information.)

  1. Saute the red onion or shallots in olive oil until they’re soft and starting to brown.
  2. Add diced Roasted Red Peppers in a jar (affiliate link), canned diced tomatoes with juice, finely chopped fresh garlic, and red pepper flakes, and simmer 10 minutes. (I used spicy Aleppo Pepper (affiliate link), but any type of red pepper flakes would work.)
  3. While the pepper-tomato mixture simmers, zest a lemon and chop the cilantro.
  4. Cut the fish into pieces about 1 inch square, and blot dry with paper towel if needed.
  5. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and some of the chopped cilantro to the mixture in the pan.
  6. Then add the fish pieces and stir just enough so the fish is gently combined in the mixture.
  7. Let stew simmer about 5-7 minutes after you add the fish, just long enough for fish pieces to start to look opaque and until you can see a small amount of liquid from the fish being released into the stew mixture.
  8. Serve hot, with additional chopped cilantro if desired.

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Domi Maeuntang (Spicy Fish Stew with Red Snapper)

One of the classic Korean stew dishes is this spicy fish stew, called maeuntang (매운탕). In Korea, maeuntang is made with all sorts of fish, including freshwater ones. For this recipe, I made it with a red snapper (domi, 도미), which has a firm, white flesh with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor.

Maeuntang is a general term for spicy stews, but it&rsquos commonly used to refer to spicy fish stews. &ldquoMaeun&rdquo means spicy. &ldquoTang&rdquo is a term used for certain types of soup (guk), such as seolleongtang and galbitang, or sometimes for certain types of stew (jjigae) dishes, such as gamjatang and maeuntang. Traditionally, the term &ldquotang&rdquo was used for elaborate soups or stews, but it&rsquos loosely used in modern days.

For this stew, you can use any firm, white flesh fish. Cod fish (daegu, 대구), monkfish (agu, 아구), black rockfish (wooreok, 우럭) and yellow croaker (jogi, 조기) are some of the common ones.

We normally use a whole fish cut up for this dish, including the head and bones. You can ask the fishmonger to clean and cut it for you. If preferred, use fish fillets, but the head and bones are great for flavoring the stew. Be sure the fish you buy is absolutely fresh!

In Korea, a great number of restaurants specializing in seafood have an aquarium(s) in house, where live fish are kept. This reminds me of maeuntang we had in Tongyeoung last fall, a southern coastal city of Korea. We arrived late and very hungry. After being turned away by several restaurants which were closing, we were invited in by a nice lady at a small restaurant. She made us maeuntang with a couple of fish she caught from her fish tank outside. She also allowed me in her kitchen to watch her making the stew. Her maeuntang was a memorable one!

As with most of Korean stews (jjigae), anchovy broth is used for this dish to add depth to the stew. I like to throw in some clams (or shrimp) to add another layer of flavor to the broth.

Finally, adjust the spicy level to your taste by reducing or increasing gochugaru. For a mild tasting fish stew, see my daegu tang recipe.

For more Korean cooking inspirations, follow along onYouTube,Pinterest,Twitter,Facebook, andInstagram.

Braised mackerel with radish

I’m very excited to introduce you to this popular Korean side dish, “godeungeo-mujorim,” which is braised mackerel and radish in soy sauce based broth. Along with grilled mackerel, this is the most popular way of cooking mackerel in Korean cuisine.

I love not only the fish but also the cooked radish. The texture of the cooked radish is soft, juicy, and a little sweet and salty. When you cook this dish, expect your house to be full of a delicious aroma that might lead your neighbors to knock at your door and say with sniff sniff:

“Where does this delicious smell come from? It makes me go crazy! uh? Is this mackerel? Holy mackerel! It looks so tasty! Can you share some with me?”

For 4 servings
Cooking time: 50-60 minutes


Mackerel, soy sauce, sugar, hot pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, Korean radish (or daikon), onion, green onions, green and red chili peppers.


Prepare 2 medium sized fresh or frozen mackerel (750 grams, or 1.7 pounds). Thaw them out if frozen.

  1. Cut off the fins and heads.
  2. Make a slit from the top to the vent and clean the guts.
  3. Cut the fish across into 2 inch pieces, rinse in cold water, drain, and set aside
  1. Peel a large, heavy Korean radish. Cut 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) worth of radish into pieces 2 inch wide, 2½ inch long, and 1 inch thick.
  2. Add the radish pieces to a large thick bottomed pot with. Spread them out evenly, by hand.
  3. 1 large onion or 2 medium sized onions (about 400 grams’, or 2 cups’ worth), cut into ¼ inch thick slices and place over the radish.
  4. Cut 3 stalks of green onions into pieces 1 inch long, and chop 2 green chili peppers and 1 red chili pepper. Set aside

Let’s make godeungeo jorim:

  1. Place the mackerel on top of the pieces of radish.
  2. Make seasoning sauce in a bowl by mixing ½ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup hot pepper flakes, 2 tbs sugar, ⅓ cup garlic cloves minced (12 cloves), and 1 tbs of minced ginger.
  3. Pour the seasoning sauce over the fish. Pour in 1 cup of water along the edges of the pot.
  4. Close the lid and bring to a boil over high heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Open the lid, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to push aside the mackerel and radish to make empty spot for the broth to well.
  6. Scoop some broth from the empty spot and pour it over top of the fish and radish. Repeat several times.
  7. Add the chopped green onion, green and red chili peppers.
  8. Close the lid and lower the heat to a simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the radish is cooked thoroughly. The radish will absorb the soy sauce based broth, so it will look brownish and a little translucent when cooked nicely.
  9. Open the lid and turn up the heat to boil off excess broth.
  10. Tilt the pot and use a spoon to push aside the mackerel and radish to make empty spot for the broth to well.
  11. Scoop some broth from the empty spot and pour it over top of the fish and radish. Repeat it off and on for about 5-7 minutes.
  12. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with rice, kimchi, soup, lettuce, and a few more side dishes.

Recipe Summary

  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 dashes hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds catfish, cut into bite-sized pieces

Place the bacon in a Dutch oven or a large pot with a lid cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Reserving the drippings in the skillet, remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Put the onions in the pot cover and allow to cook about 5 minutes. Stir the tomatoes, tomato sauce, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce into the onions. Season with salt and pepper allow to simmer 30 minutes. Stir the crumbled bacon and catfish into the mixture continue cooking until the fish flakes easily, about 10 minutes more.

Fish Stew with Saffron

This Catalan fish stew, zarzuela, with its flavorful combination of fish and shellfish, is named after a centuries-old form of Spanish musical theater known for its colorful mix of characters. Serve the zarzuela with warm, crusty bread and quartered lemons for squeezing into the broth.

Fish Stew with Saffron


  • 3 lb. (1.5 kg) mixed seafood such as live mussels and clams, striped bass, halibut, cleaned squid and peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) blanched slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbs. fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pimentón (Spanish smoked pepper)
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) fish stock
  • 1 can (28 oz./875 g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) pitted green olives such as Manzanilla, chopped
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Scrub the mussels and clams well, if using. Debeard the mussels, if necessary. Put the shellfish in a bowl of water and refrigerate. Cut the fish into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) chunks. If using squid, cut the bodies into 1/2-inch (12-mm) rings. Put the seafood in a bowl and refrigerate.

2. In a small, dry fry pan over medium heat, toast the saffron threads, stirring constantly or shaking the pan, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 1 minute. Pour the threads into a bowl and, when cool, crumble with your fingertips. Set aside.

3. In a blender or food processor, combine the almonds, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, pimentón and 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and process to a smooth puree. Set aside.

4. Remove the seeds, stems and ribs from the bell peppers and chop the peppers. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and the peppers and sauté until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, thyme, olives, saffron and almond mixture and season generously with salt and pepper. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

5. Drain the mussels and clams and add to the pot, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Add the fish, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the squid and shrimp, cover, and cook until the mussels and clams have opened and the fish and seafood are opaque throughout, about 5 minutes longer. Discard any mussels or clams that fail to open.

6. Ladle the stew into soup bowls and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

Find more than 100 recipes for the simple, unassuming, and satisfying food of the Spanish countryside in Rustic Spanish by Paul Richardson.