This is a classic Korean homecooking dish that I grew up eating.
The fish itself has many names. In English, it’s referred to as Hairtail, Beltfish, Ribbon fish or Cutlass fish.
But in Korea, we call it Galchi - take a look at the picture below (looks pretty aggressive no?)
Most of the Western World tend to look down on Galchi, considering it a poor-quality fish – as the fish is slender and lacks large sections of filet.
Not to mention the comb-like bones that run down both sides of the fish - which is very cumbersome to pick out with a fork.But Koreans (and many other countries in Asia) really enjoy this fish! We grow up eating it - picking through the sweet flesh with our chopsticks and carefully discarding the bones.
Galchi has a sweetness to its flesh. Makes it taste especially good on a bowl of fresh rice.
In Korea homecooking, the most popular ways to eat it are grilled (Galchi-gui recipe here) or braised - as we’re doing today!
Cooking Notes for Galchi Jorim:
Galchi has a fair amount of fishy smell to it – what we refer to as “bi-rin-neh” (비린내) in Korean.
Much of the smell resides in its silvery skin – which looks almost like a fine, powdery glitter (see below). It doesn't have any scales.
To remove the skin, use a sharp knife and hold it at an angle - then gently go up and down.
Some restaurants in Korea like to keep the silver skin on for a better looking presentation – but I recommend scraping it off.
Next, remove the inner guts from the fish - just use your fingers to pull everything out (including the black lining). Then rinse it under running water and soak in rice water for at least 15 minutes.
I highly recommend using Anchovy-Kelp broth. You can however, substitute it with rice water (or even plain water).
Finally, make sure to add in a teaspoon of Doenjang - this will be the final ingredient to eliminate any fish smell from the dish.
Key cooking point: We want the broth to cook away and slightly thicken – so it resembles a runny, curry-like consistency.
This is when this dish tastes incredible!
All of the flavor becomes one. If you don't it reduce it down for long enough, you'll be eating fish stew... which is not the point of this recipe. Keep the broth bubbling away until you're left with only a small layer of spicy sauce.
I am excited for you try the Braised Korean Radish! Since it is placed on the bottom of the pot - getting most of the heat - the radish will turn extra-soft. Break off a piece and place on top a spoonful of rice.
I know ya'll enjoy making this dish. Probably remind you of your mom’s cooking… (give her a call, I know its been a while!)
Better yet, make it for her! 😍
Alrighty ya’ll – if you do make it, send us a pic on IG. We love seeing pictures of your dishes in the morning!
-Daniel out 🕺
(P.s. If you’re cooking alone, don’t get bored. Consider listening to our latest podcast episode while you cook!)
- 1 whole Galchi (or 4-5 rectangle pieces)
- Some Rice Water (for soaking fish)
- 5 round cuts of Korean Radish (reference video)
- 1 whole Potato
- 1 stalk Spring Onion (forearm length)
- ½ whole Onion
- 1 Chili Pepper
Spicy Braising Marinade
- 1 Tablespoon Gochujang Paste
- 2 Tablespoons Gochugaru Flakes
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Soup Soy Sauce (Regular Soy Sauce Ok)
- 2 Tablespoons Mirim
- 1 teaspoon (!) Doenjang Paste
- 2 cups Anchovy-Kelp Broth (or 2 cups Rice Water)
- You'll want to eat this braised dish with rice on the side. So let's start with the rice. When rinsing the rice, save the water - we'll use it for soaking the fish in the following steps. (Reference video for further details).
- Now, lets prep the galchi. Cut-off any fins that are visible the fish - don't forget the main one that runs across the top. Then remove any guts (cut open the belly and wash everything out - including the black inner sac).
- Next, use your knife and gently scrape up and down the skin of the fish - the silver glitter will come off. Try to remove as much as you can - this is where most of the fishy smell comes from.
- Place the cleaned galchi pieces in a tray. Pour-in the residual rice water and let the fish soak in it. This will also help remove any fishy smell.
- Next, let's move onto the veggies. Peel and cut-off 5 skinny rounds from a Korean radish. Cut the rounds into half-sized moon pieces.
- Next, peel and cut 1 whole potato into thin sections.
- Then, cut an onion (½ a whole) into thin sections.
- Slice 1 chili pepper into small pieces.
Make Stock Broth (Optional)
- Make Anchovy-Kelp Broth and set aside 2cups worth (500 ml). Alternatively, you can also use set aside more rice water (500 ml) for broth. Or even, just some water plain water (500 ml).
Make Braising Sauce
- Thoroughly mix the following: Gochujang Paste (1 Tablespoon), Gochugaru (2 Tablespoons), Sugar (1 Tablespoon), Soy Sauce (2 Tablespoons), Minced Garlic (1 Tablespoon), Soup Soy Sauce (1 Tablespoon), Mirim (2 Tablespoons), Doenjang (1 teaspoon!)
- Note: If you don't have Soup Soy Sauce, just use Soy Sauce!
- Take out a pot or wok. Place the sliced Radish Pieces on the bottom. Then add the sliced Potatoes on top. Next, add-in the Galchi pieces.
- We'll add-in only ⅔ of the braising marinade now. Spread it over the fish.
- Next add-in the sliced onions, chopped spring onions and chili peppers.
- Add in 2 cups of the Anchovy-Kelp broth.
- Place the pot or wok on a high heat and bring it up to a boil.
- Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a medium and let it simmer away with a lid. Set a timer for 15 minutes. (Every 5 minutes, give the pot a gentle shake back and forth so that nothing is stick to the bottom)
- After 15 minutes, open the lid. Then use a spoon and spread-on the remaining ⅓rd of the spicy braising sauce to the fish pieces.
- Set a timer for additional 5 minutes.
- After the final 5 minutes, the broth should have thickened up - and the radish will be very soft! Try poking it with a chopstick.
- Now, turn off the heat. Plate the fish, alongside some radish and potato piece. Finish off with a drizzle of the leftover braising sauce. Serve with the freshly made hot rice.
- When eating, be careful of the bones. We recommend removing the the sides of the fish - as there are many comb-like bones in them. Then there is the center spine that runs through the fish. Most of the white meat is located on top and bottom of it. (This is a great time to train your chopstick skills!)
- Bon Appetit ya'll!