I love our local H-mart because of the fish section. The fish come from the Fulton Fish Market in NYC and are very fresh. You can even pick out a live fish from a tank and have it cleaned while you wait.
Saengsun (fish) jun (anything fried) is the generic name for Korean pan-fried fish. When made with cod (daegu), it is called daegu jun. When made with pollock (dongtae), dongtae jun. Those are specific fish names. Almost any firm white fish works well including haddock, halibut, even tilapia. I normally buy it already-made at H-mart. The lovely ajumas (ladies) do a fantastic job of making saengsun jun so why bother?
Last year at my request, my mom started teaching me how to make some of the traditional Korean food I’ve grown up eating. My mom was a fantastic cook and I wanted to learn exactly how she made them. You know how it is… no dish is ever made the same in any household. Sadly, I only learned a few before she passed.
Now, it is more important to me than ever to learn and write out the recipes in order to pass them down to my daughters. Even if I can’t teach Soso and Peanut, they will have the written recipes as a point of reference.
Saengsun jun is very easy to make. Similar to other “jun” dishes, all the other ingredients are basic food pantry items like eggs, flour, scallion and some salt and pepper. You could even skip the scallion. I added some minced garlic per the recipe on Maangchi because I couldn’t remember if my mom did. I know she didn’t use hot chili pepper ( again, Maangchi) so I skipped that. But if you want a kick, go right ahead.
I usually put the flour mixture (flour and potato flour because my mom said the potato flour gives the breading a more crispy texture) into a shallow dish and set aside. Slice the thick part of the scallion into thinner strips before chopping into small pieces.
Here’s a close up of the white part. I think I sliced these in half, but if they are thicker I slice into quarters.
Add the eggs into a bowl with the chopped scallions, some salt and pepper and whisk.
Rinse and dry the fish before slicing along the grain diagonally into thin (less than 1/2 inch thick) pieces. Sprinkle some salt and pepper, add the minced garlic and toss in the flour mixture.
Add some cooking oil to the frying pan on medium. I use olive oil, but I’ve used canola oil, peanut oil, or whatever oil’s handy. Dip each piece into the egg mixture and lay on the frying pan without crowding.
I usually take some scallion from the egg mixture to place on top. Fry on each side until golden, about 1.5 – 2 mins each.
Transfer the cooked fish onto a plated lined with paper towel to drain the oil.
Serve with steamed rice and some banchan. Picture here is a simple seasoned cucumber and eggplant namul. We also had kimchi and roasted kim (nori) not pictured here.
Next time you’re looking for a recipe for your cod/haddock/pollock/halibut/tilapia, why not give this a try?
Saengsun jun (Korean Pan-fried Fish)
Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 1o mins
1.5 lbs firm white fish filet (cod, haddock, halibut, pollock), washed and pat dried
2 stalks scallion (green onions), optional
2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoon potato flour or corn starch, optional
olive oil or other cooking oil
salt and pepper
Slice the fish diagonally along the grain into thin pieces, about 1/2 inches thick. Season with salt, pepper and minced garlic and set aside.
Trim and slice the scallion lengthwise in half or in quarters depending on the thickness before chopping into small pieces. Add to a medium-sized bowl with the 3 eggs, some salt and pepper and whisk.
Add the flour and potato flour into a shallow bowl. Add the fish and toss until all the pieces are lightly coated.
Add oil to a large frying pan on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, lower heat to medium.
Using chopsticks or a kitchen tong (or your hand if you don’t mind the mess), dip each piece of fish in the egg mixture and add to the frying pan. Don’t crowd the pan. Top each fish with some additional scallion from the mixture. Fry on each side for 1/5 – 2 mins or until golden brown and transfer onto a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat until all the fish are fried.
Serve immediately as a main dish with steamed rice and banchan, with or without dipping sauce (soy sauce, rice vinegar) or as an appetizer.