If you think all Korean stews are spicy and pungent, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. The other day, my husband mentioned that we hadn’t had a fish stew for a while, and I instantly thought of this delicate stew made with cod fish, daegu. I love its subtle yet deep flavor! Cod fish is mild-flavored and has white flaky flesh. It’s a very popular choice for Korean fish stews. There are two distinct types of stew made with cod fish – spicy (daegu maeuntang) and mild (daegu jiri). Both dishes can be found at most Korean restaurants.
Typically, anchovy stock is used for this dish to add depth to the stew. The broth should be light to highlight the natural taste of the fresh fish. Of course, the fish must be very fresh! Often, a couple of clams or shrimp are thrown in to add another layer of flavor to the broth. The main vegetables used in this dish are napa cabbage and white radish. You only need a little bit for this dish, so if you have to buy a whole cabbage and radish, use the leftovers for other dishes such as baechu guk and mu guk or namul. This stew is very refreshing and satisfying! It’s undoubtedly healthy as well. We always enjoy it. Hope you do too!
1 pound cod fish (preferably steaks)
2 little neck clams or shrimp
6 ounces tofu
1 or 2 leaves napa cabbage
2 ounces Korean radish
1 thin ginger slice
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
a handful of watercress or crown daisy leaves (ssukgat)
1 ounce enoki mushrooms (optional)
1 or 2 scallions
a slice of lemon (optional)
salt and pepper
3 cups anchovy broth (Anchovy Stock II)
(You can also use soybean sprouts, zucchini, chile pepper, and/or shiitaki mushrooms.)
Clean the fish and clams (or shrimp). Clean the vegetables. Cut the cabbage and radish into bite sizes. Thinly slice the scallions.Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch thick small pieces.(The tofu is inadvertently omitted in this photo.)
Add the broth to a medium size pot along with the cabbage, radish, ginger, and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Cook until the vegetables turn soft, about 3 minutes.
Drop in the fish, clams and tofu. When it comes to a boil again, reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the clams are open and the fish is almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. (Do not overcook. The fish will continue to cook in the boiling hot broth while being served and eaten.)
Add the watercress or crown daisy leaves, enoki mushrooms, and scallions. Turn the heat off. Serve piping hot with the optional lemon slice on top.