Today I’m going to show you my recipe for dried shredded pollock seasoned with hot pepper paste. I’ve been making this for a long time and everyone loves it. It’s sweet, spicy, juicy sauce covering light, dried flaky fish. Called Bugeopo gochujang-muchim in Korean, it’s a great side dish for rice and can be kept in the fridge for a long time, up to one month. It’s a kind of preserved side dish called mitbanchan.
The main ingredients are dried pollock and gochujang. I’ve always wanted to make a video in Sunchang, Korea, because it produces the best of best gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) in the whole country. It was considered a regional specialty as far back as the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) when it was regularly sent to the king’s palace for his meals.
I used to live in the city of Gwangju, near Sunchang, so I had been there many times to buy gochujang. Since then they’ve built a little village just for gochujang artisans. Before that they were scattered here and there but now they’re all in one spot. In the Korean grocery store you might see “Sunchang gochujang” on the label of a tub of gochujang, but that’s different. The real Sunchang gochuchang is homemade and different from house to house. You have to go to Sunchang to taste it, it’s not sold anywhere else.
They also make doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste) and jangajji, and one of the most well-known is gulbi-jangajji, made with yellow corvina fish (remember my grilled yellow corvina recipe?). When you serve gulbi-jangajji at a party, everyone will want to try it! My bugeopo gochujang-muchim is similar to gulbi-jangajji but made with ingredients you can find in a Korean grocery store almost anywhere. I think it tastes better.
If you go to Korea I suggest you make a stop there and taste some of their wonderful deep-flavored gochujang. But you don’t need it to enjoy this recipe! I always make it with store bought gochujang and it’s a big hit!
left is gulbi-jangajji and right is bugeopo gochujang-muchim
- 3½ ounces (100 grams) dried shredded pollock
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- ½ cup rice syrup (or corn syrup)
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Make the seasoning paste
- Combine garlic, gochujang, rice syrup, toasted sesame oil, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Mix it well with a wooden spoon until the gochujang is not separated with the oil and well incorporated. Set aside.
Prepare the pollock
- Open the package of pollock. Put it on a platter or your cutting board and check each piece for fishbones. If you find any, pull them out and throw them away.
- Put the dried pollock into a plastic bag. Add ¼ cup water evenly to the pollock and close the bag. Grab the bag with one hand to seal it, and mix and massage the pollock with your other hand so that it moistens evenly. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Pound the pollock in the plastic bag with a pestle or any object like a rock, bottle, or rolling pin for about 1 minute, to soften the pollock and make it flaky.
- Tear each piece into bite size pieces.
Season and serve
- Add the pollock to the seasoning paste in the bowl. Mix it well and sprinkle the sesame seeds over top.
- Transfer it to an air-tight container.
- Put some into a small plate and serve with rice. You can refrigerate it for up to 1 month.