Have you seen Juipo (Korean fish jerky)? As I was growing in Korea this salty, sweet, chewy jerky was always big hit in every Korean kid’s lunch box (Doshirak, 도시락).
When my piano man was eating his PB&J sandwich for his lunch at Denver, Colorado in the 80th, I had my fish jerky with rice lunch in my hometown of Tong Young, Korea. Isn’t it funny that we all grew up with the different food and culture, but end up living together as a family somehow? …Life is full of mystery.
Korean Side Dishes For Lunchbox
The Korean lunchbox (Doshirak) in the late 70th through 80th was very simple. The box itself was made with aluminum material mostly, with oval or rectangular in shape. 2/3 of the space was filled with rice and the 1/3 was for side dishes (Banchan). The most common Banchan was egg roll, shredded cuttlefish (Ojinguh, 오징어) in a spicy sauce, mini patties made with chicken or beef, and/or this fish jerky (Juipo). Lunch time was our happy hour at school. We didn’t have cafeteria or any vending machine to buy food/snack at school those days.
As soon as the lunch bell rings we all took out our doshirak from our bag and put on our desk. Usually 4-6 kids got together and shared lunch on the same desk, which means we shared our doshirak to taste each one’s Banchan. It was so much fun to share and connected with each other through food.
I often got lots of compliments from my friends how my Banchan tasted so good. My mother was an excellent cook and I am so glad that I learned many skills from her. I would like to show you how I make Korean fish jerky in a spicy sauce.
What Is Juipo (Korean Fish Jerky)?
Juipo is made from the seasoned, dried, and then pressed file fish called Juichi (쥐치). You can often find this on the street markets in Korea. Juipo has a subtle sweet flavor. It is traditionally served hot, heated on a burner until it curls.
Here is the picture of the Juipo, the fish jerky of Korea. They usually come in a pack of 10.
Do you see a few dinosaur fossils on this fish jerky? Well, actually they are eatable fish bones. Grossed out?
You will need; Juipo, red chili paste (Korean of course), soy sauce, sugar, sweetened rice wine, corn syrup, and sesame seeds. There is one more item missing in this group but I will show you later.
How To Cook Jwipo?
First roast your Juipo over the low flame on stove top until it curls up and the edge gets browned, about 5-7 seconds each sides.
It will look like this after roasting. You will love the smell! Do not over roast them unless you have the jaw of Jaws, the shark! They will get tough by over roasting.
Let them cool and tear them into bite sizes. Pop one piece in you mouth and chew it. You will love it.
I am saving these three guys for my 9 yr old daughter who loves dried fish, but she can’t handle the spicy sauce yet. They are good to eat the way they are as a snack like beef jerky.
Cooking Instructions for Korean Fish Jerky Side Dish
In a pan combine Korean chili paste, soy sauce, sugar, and the sweetened rice wine.
Now this is the ingredient I need to add. What is this? It is Mayonnaise. You won’t taste it at all in the dish but make so much difference in the over all flavor.
It also softens the fish as well. Add it to the pan and mix well to incorporate with sauce.
Bring the sauce to a full boil until it thickens. Remove pan from the heat.
Add a little Korean corn syrup, or any light corn syrup to the mixture. This will add nice shine to the dish but you don’t have to.So how do you eat this? Simply with rice, what else? This makes a great Banchan, Korean side dishes. Sooooooooo good!
They can be stored in your fridge for eternity, which I love, but mine never get lasted more than 3 days. Because I always took some out to eat with my leftover rice in the middle of the night. Now you just discovered my weakness.
Juipo (Korean Fish Jerky)
- 7 pieces of Juipo dried file fish, each has size of petite woman's hand
- 2-3 T Korean red chili paste
- 1 T soy sauce low sodium
- 3 T sweet rice wine (mirim) Mirim
- 1 t sugar
- 2 t mayonnaise
- 1 T corn syrup optional
- some sesame seeds
- Roast the dried fish over the low flame on the stove until it gets curled up and the edge gets browned, about 5-7 seconds on each side. Cool them down a bit and tear them off to bite sizes. Set aside.
- In a non stick pan combine chili paste, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and mayonnaise to make sauce. Mix well.
- Bring the sauce to a full boil until it thickens. Remove the pan from heat. Add the fish and mix well. Add corn syrup to bring the more shine if you like. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
- Serve this as Banchan(side dish) with rice. Store the leftover in the fridge up to