11.344 Hoe Deopbab


14 (Mon) December 2020

Hoe Deopbab


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

Chogochujang (초고추장) is a Korean condiment.  Chili paste (gochujang) with sugar and vinegar (cho).  Spicy, tangy.  It’s the default sauce for most seafoods, especially raw fish and grilled shellfish.  Sold in bottles or made from scratch.  One of Korea’s national condiments.

Often given away free with orders of seafood.

Hoe Deopbab is a great dish to make at home.  It only requires 5 essential components: (1) steamed rice, (2) sesame oil, (3) chogochujang, (4) mixed salad of any combination, and (5) raw fish of any combination (more on this below).  No cooking required.  Can be prepared well in advance, then assembled quickly before serving.  Just as easy to make 1 bowl as 10 bowls.  Impressive in presentation.  Super healthy.  Super tasty.   Easy clean up.

Couple Set (30 pieces) = 32,000 won.

The biggest challenge is sourcing the fish.  Fortunately, many larger supermarkets in Korea these days offer pre-packaged hoe (회) (raw fish).  Otherwise, hoe can be purchased as takeaway from a restaurant.  In either case, the fish can be quite pricey, comprising premium cuts intended to be eaten as is.  Also, purchasing fine slices of fish and chopping it up for hoe deopbab is kinda crazy, like mincing an aged ribeye steak to make meatloaf.  By comparison, hoe deopbab in a restaurant is typically made from bits of trim set aside in making the main hoe platters, so the dish can be sold quite cheap and reduces waste (see for example 11.247 Hoe Deopbab).

Setting aside the primo toro pieces, the bulk of the fish came out to almost exactly 300 grams, a tad light but sufficient at 75 grams per bowl – a generous bowl would include about 100 grams.

The recent discovery of a place that delivers tuna sashimi (see most recently 11.327 Premium Tuna Sashimi) inspired me to make hoe deopbab for the first time on GMTD – during the 11-year history of the blog, I’ve made the dish a few times for lunch but never, until now, as a featured item for dinner.

1 bowl of regular steamed rice (not sushi rice) – tip: better to let it cool off a bit so that the heat doesn’t wilt the vegetables.
With a base of lettuce and/or white cabbage, anything works – here: romaine + iceberg + white cabbage + red cabbage + carrots + onion + chicory + radish sprouts + arugula; sliced cucumbers, chilies, garlic are also common.
White fish, such as fluke or snapper, would be the most traditional; although the delicate flavor gets drowned out by the chogochujang, the chewy texture holds its own against the array of other components.  These days, salmon and tuna are often added as well.
Avocado is an unconventional topping, though it seems perfectly suitable for a Californian like me.
Flying fish roe is pretty standard though perhaps not absolutely essential.
Seasoned laver, also standard but not essential.

It turned out very well.  As with any hoe deopbab, the chogochujang dominated the flavor profile, so the tuna felt like a wasted extravagance.  The avocado was nice, providing occasional bites of creaminess, maybe I’ll add a bit more next time.  Otherwise, it was as good as it usually is.

Not entirely unlike bibimbab, which can also be made with chogochujang (though usually just plain gochujang).

After taking great care to document the construction of the dish, I forgot to shoot a photo of the final product, with the chogochujang drizzled on top, before everything was mixed together.

Toro Nigirizushi (3.5): the Couple Set comes with 6 balls of sushi rice, which I paired with the 6 best cuts of tuna belly.

(For more details re foods, see WHAT)

(For more details re venues, see WHERE IN KOREA)

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