This is one of those dishes where in essence, it’s a grilled fish smothered with sauce. Thus, it’s best to separate the ingredients into components: the fish, the sauce, and the rest. When you look at it like that, it opens this dish to a lot of possible varieties, but nevertheless, this is what I did for this particular instance.
• Herring-type fish, gutted. I’m use garfish because on the day I made this the herrings and sardines in the fishmonger looked sad…
• Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
• Rice wine
• Soy sauce
Pantry items and other stuff:
• Spring onion/scallion
• Mix the gochujang with a small amount of rice wine, soy sauce, lemon juice, and sugar- I can’t give exact measurements because it depends on the consistency of the gochujang. You don’t want the sauce to be too liquidy (as I type this I realise mine in the photo below looks liquidy, it’s not, it’s just the rice wine covering everything before it was mixed.) The sauce should be mostly sweet and spicy.
• Make some cuts to the sides of the fish, then rub with the sauce as much or as little as you want.
• Heat the griddle pan until smoking hot
• Wipe off the excess paste from the fish if necessary, then rub the fish with oil before placing them on the pan
• Cook for about 1.5 minutes on one side, then flip and another minute on the other side (depending on the size of the fish- you may need even less- if you see the fish’s inside is getting opaque from being cooked, that’s the sign when to flip)
• Serve with scallion, more sauce, and another squeeze of lemon juice if you like
Tips and thoughts:
• When you place the fish on the hot griddle for the first time, if you oiled the fish, do not worry. Sticking will be minimum if you don’t move the fish around
• Use a fish spatula, that’s the best (the only?) way to flip delicate fish without breaking it
• Do not do what I did in the picture, cook only a few fish at a time, as you can see due to the small space, I had problem flipping the bottom-most fish and I end up tearing a little bit of the flesh
• If you can’t find gochujang, at the end of the day it’s a spicy and sweet sauce with a bit of saltiness. There are ways to achieve this using common ingredients