Hot Spicy Fish Soup

Maeuntang is a hot spicy fish soup boiled with gochujang (red chili pepper paste), gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes) and various vegetables. As its main ingredient, fresh or sea-water fish is cut into several pieces and boiled with ground beef and green vegetables such as watercress and garland chrysanthemum.  In addition, onion, radish, chilies, crown daisy, garlic and sometimes, pumpkin and bean curds are added to the mixture to absorb the gochujang which is the base flavor of this dish. It is then seasoned with gochugaru, garlic, soy sauce and potentially more gochujang to meet everyone's taste buds.

Restaurants that offer this dish often allow you to select your fish from an aquarium. Many specialty seafood restaurants have several aquariums from which you may select. Popular fish for this dish may include red snapper, sea bass, yellow corvina, codfish, croaker, pollack, and even fresh water fish like carp and trout. In addition, other shell fish such as crabs, clams and oysters can be added to this soup to complement and enhance its spiciness but refreshing flavors. This soup is one of Korean's most popular dishes while drinking soju. If you order sushi or sashimi, the soup is made from the left-over parts of the fish.


Recipe Ingredients: Yields 4 Servings

  • 2 trouts whole (12-14 inches) or other fishes listed above. Use discretion in size if cooking with other fish
  • ½ cup radish, thin sliced
  • 2-3 red chilies, cut in a bias
  • 3 green onions, cut in a bias
  • 3-4 crown daisy, cut top part into 3 inches
  • 4-5 parsley, take out leaves and cut into 3 inches
  • 6 tbsp gochujang
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp gochukaru
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 6 cups water
  • ¼ squash, thin sliced (optional)
  • 10 oz bean curds (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Scale and wash the fish, then vertically cut into several pieces.
  2. Put water in a pot, start boiling.
  3. Add gochujang, gochugaru and soy sauce. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add radish, squash, half of chilies, keep cooking on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add fish and garlic.
  6. Heat until fish is completely cooked.  Add salt to taste.
  7. Add green onions and parsley.
  8. Cook for another 1-2 minute and add crown daisy.
  9. Serve hot with white rice.