Eomuk bokkeum, a popular Korean fish cake side dish, is quick and easy to make with soy sauce, onions, and other basic Asian pantry ingredients.

Fish cake side dish served with rice.

If you love Korean food, you probably know about the amazing variety of side dishes, called banchan. One of my favorites is eomuk bokkeum, a stir-fried fish cake side dish.

This dish is a staple in Korean households and many Korean restaurants also serve it frequently. When I was a child, it was known as odeng bokkeum, and it has always been one of my favorite banchan. I still love it just as much today.

Eomuk bokkeum placed over a bowl of rice.
Eomuk bokkeum is great as a side dish or enjoy on its own with rice for a simple meal.

Eomuk bokkeum is made by quickly stir-frying thin slices of fish cake with everyday vegetables in a savory fish cake sauce. The result is a delicious dish with a soft and chewy texture that pairs perfectly with rice.

You’ll love this recipe because it’s so easy and quick to make with basic pantry ingredients. If you can find Korean fish cake, I urge you to give this a try! It’s so tasty, it might just make you forget about all the other banchan on the table.

A bowl of rice topped with fish cake side dish.
Korean fish cake side dish offers a hint of sweetness and deep umami, making it perfect for those who enjoy both flavors in one dish.

Korean Fish Cake

Known as “eomuk” (어묵) or “odeng” (오뎅), this popular street food is made from ground white fish mixed with flour, vegetables, and seasonings. The mixture is shaped, often into rectangular or cylindrical forms, then steamed or fried. The southern coastal city of Busan is particularly famous for its fresh, handmade versions. Most people buy them frozen from local markets.

Fish cake is the main ingredient in this eomuk bokkeum recipe, but it’s also used in a variety of dishes:

  • Tteokbokki: A spicy rice cake dish that often includes pieces of fish cake.
  • Odeng guk: A warm fish cake soup that is especially popular in colder months.
  • Kimbap: This popular Korean seaweed rice roll includes seasoned fish cake strips.
  • Kimchi jjigae: Adding fish cake slices deepens the flavor of this spicy kimchi stew. My cookbook, Korean Cooking Favorites, has a recipe with it, so check it out.

Ingredient Highlights

Ingredients for fish cake side dish recipe.
You can make this fish cake side dish with basic Asian pantry ingredients, and it only takes a few minutes to cook!
  • Fish Cakes: These come in various types and shapes, all of which work well for this eomuk bokkeum recipe. If you have thicker fish cakes, slice them thin to absorb the sauce better.
    • Thin rectangular fish cakes are most commonly used for this dish, and that’s what I used in this recipe. You can find them in the frozen section of most Asian grocery stores.
  • Vegetables: I like to use a combination of onion and Asian leek. They add a savory touch to fish cake stir-fry. If Asian leek is not available, substitute with green onion.
  • Sauce: This recipe uses basic Asian staple condiments such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and sweet rice wine. These ingredients create a balance of salty and savory flavors with a slight hint of sweetness.

How to make fish cake side dish (Eomuk Bokkeum)

In a small mixing bowl, combine all these sauce ingredients except the sesame seeds and mix well. Slice fish cakes into bite sized pieces.

Saute onions and garlic in hot oil until soft. Add sliced fish cakes and continue to stir-fry, about 2 minutes. Drizzle water and cook continuously.

Let the water evaporate, then push the fish cakes to one side of the skillet. Pour the sauce into the empty side and let it boil. Mix the fish cakes with the sauce until it thickens. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Storage suggestion

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Cold eomuk bokkeum is delicious ore serve at room temperature. If you prefer them warm, microwave for a few seconds.

Eomuk bokkeum with a bowl of rice on a tray.
Even leftover eomuk bokkeum tastes great when chilled and has a long shelf life.

Recipe Notes

  1. Adding a splash of water during the stir-frying of fish cake softens it and helps maintain the same texture even after storing it in the fridge. Often, stir-fried fish cake side dishes can harden once chilled, so this trick will prevent that.
  2. Corn syrup is an optional ingredient. It adds a sheen to the dish, making it look more appetizing.
  3. If you want to make this side dish more hearty and nutritious, add sliced vegetables like bell pepper or carrot. You can stir-fry them with the onions in the cooking step.
Fish cake side dish served with rice.

Korean Fish Cake Side Dish (Eomuk Bokkeum)

Eomuk bokkeum, a popular Korean fish cake side dish, is quick and easy to make with soy sauce, onions, and other basic Asian pantry ingredients.
5 from 1 rating

Ingredients

  • 4 sheets Korean fish cakes, sliced into bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Asian leek, or 2 green onion
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet rice wine (mirin)
  • 2 tsp corn syrup, optional

Instructions 

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine all these sauce ingredients and mix well.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Add sliced fish cakes and stir-fry until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour water and stir fry continuously. Let the water evaporate. Push fish cakes to the corner of your skillet.
  • Pour the sauce mixture to the other empty corner in the skillet and let it boil. Combine the sauce with fish cake mixture and mix it thoroughly until the sauce is thickened and no longer runny. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds at then end.

Notes

  • If you want to make this side dish more hearty and nutritious, add sliced vegetables like bell pepper or carrot. You can stir-fry them with the onions in the cooking step.
  • Corn syrup is an optional ingredient. It adds a sheen to the dish, making it look more appetizing.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @beyondkimchee on Instagram. I love to see your masterpiece.