Friday, August 16, 2013

Foodie Fridays: Korean Fried White Fish

From Carmen's Kitchen

I truly dislike frying foods, or eating fried foods for that matter.  I seldom eat things like doughnuts or French fries (I prefer oven fries), and only rarely do I crave fried chicken or fish.  When I do get a craving, about once a year or so, I usually choose the fast food option.  Sometimes, if I'm desperate (and lazy) enough, I even go the frozen route.  Occasionally, however, I decide that I must fry something myself, and when that happens, I like to make this recipe for Korean Fried White Fish, which I found in a cookbook called Homestyle Korean Cooking in Pictures by Cho Joong Ok.  It is simply fish chunks floured and coated in egg, then quickly pan fried.  The technique is easy and fast, and the fish is quite tasty, but be prepared to make a disaster area of your stovetop and vicinity!  Once the mess is cleaned up, though, you end up with quite a bit of fish, and any leftovers can be refrigerated and will reheat nicely in the microwave when needed.  Serve this fish as an appetizer or a main dish with a simple dipping sauce and you are sure to satisfy any fried food cravings for at least a little while!

Korean Fried White Fish

12-16 oz. firm white fish (such as cod), cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 T. vegetable oil (see Note)
3 T. flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Vinegar-Soy Sauce (below)

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with the salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Put the flour and egg into separate shallow bowls.  Dredge the fish pieces in the flour, then coat with the egg.  Fry the fish in the skillet in batches (do not overcrowd), turning the pieces occasionally, until golden brown on all sides and the fish is firm, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.  Serve with the dipping sauce.  Serves 2 (main dish) to 4 (appetizer).

Vinegar-Soy Sauce: Stir together 4 T. soy sauce and 2-4 T. rice vinegar.  Add a teaspoon of sesame oil and/or a sliced scallion if desired.

Note: The original recipe uses sesame oil for frying, but it is expensive, so any light vegetable oil can be substituted for part or all of the sesame oil.  If you have a sesame seed grinder, try grinding some toasted seeds on top of the fish as soon as it is removed from the skillet, and sprinkle on a little additional salt as well if you wish.  Also, do not discard any leftover egg.  Pour it into the skillet with the leftover oil and fry it like an omelet.  The small amount of flour left in the egg after dipping in the fish will make the egg puff up slightly while cooking like a very eggy pancake, but the end result tastes only of egg with a rather rich flavor from the pan oil.  Slice the egg into strips and serve with the fish (or if you are greedy like me eat it as a snack immediately!).

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