Grilled Korean Mackerel. Koreans grow up eating mackerel. A staple for Korean homecooking! It was the same for my family. My mom cooked it for breakfast and the smell of roasted fish would sneak into my room and nudge me out of bed. At the dining table would be crispy mackerel, steamed rice, doenjang jjigae and a few veggie banchans on the side. Sounds like an amazing breakfast, no? Today, I wanted to revisit momma’s grilled mackerel.
The most important thing for any fish dish is to buy fresh fish. Fresh mackerel will have firm flesh, clean skin and bright eyes (not murky). Ask the market to clean the fish for you. Cuts out lot of the prep work.
Next, we’ll do a few things to minimize fish odor:
First, you’ll want to soak the fish in rice water to remove alot of the odor from the skin.
(Note: You can also soak the fish in milk for 10-15 minutes. There’s a substance in milk called Casein that binds to the fish odor).
Next, we’ll add some instant curry powder to our flour mix. An equal ratio (1:1) of curry powder to flour. This curry powder will not only minimize fish odor but also season the fish.
With these few tips, you can enjoy the natural flavors of grilled mackerel. Check out the steps in full below.
Korean Grilled Mackerel
Yield 1-2 people
Pro-tips on how to pan-fry mackerel.
- Fresh Mackerel - 1 whole
- Rice water - enough to submerge the fish (reference video)
- Flour - 1 Tablespoon
- Curry Powder - 1 Tablespoon
- Lemon - optional
- Clean the fish and take out its innards.
- Soak the cleaned mackerel in rice water (or milk) for 10-15 minutes.
- Then rinse the fish off under cold water.
- Place the fish on a few paper towels. Pat it down dry.
- Then mix the Flour (1T) & Curry powder (1T) together.
- Sprinkle the batter over the fish and coat both sides. Make sure to give the fish a few gentle pats to take off extra batter.
- Cut the fish into two halves (if you haven't done already)
- Put frying pan on a medium-high heat. Place in oil. Once it's hot, place the pieces in skin-side down. Let it grill for 1 minute, until the skin turns crispy.
- Once it's crispy, flip it over to the otherside. Reduce the heat to a low. And let it fully cook through for 3-5 minutes.
- Once crispy on both sides, take out the pan and plate.
- (Optional: Give a few squeezes of fresh lemon over the fish)
- Enjoy with a bowl of hot rice. (Be careful of the fish bones!)
- Please be careful of fish bones!
- See video below for more details