Kkongchi-jorim (꽁치조림): Spicy Mackerel Pike


[Kkongchi = mackerel pike, jorim = dishes boiled and reduced in sauce or marinade]

KKongchi-jorim is a quick and easy fish dish I cook for myself and my mother for lunch. I usually use canned mackerel pikes, which can be found in any Korean grocery. I always have canned mackerel pikes and canned mackerels in my cabinet. This insures that I will always have something to fall back on when I’m in a pinch. For those of you who think that canned fish is a strange concept, it is no different than canned tuna or sardines. Canned mackerels include only the gutted and cleaned bodies of the fish and can be eaten as whole, including the bones. This is a nutritious way to consume not only calcium but also is full of omega-3, DHA, vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin E. You can, of course, use a fresh mackerel for this dish, which would be even better.


  • 1 can of mackerel, mackerel pike or 1 fresh mackerel, gutted without the headIMG_2724
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 ounces (100-150g) of moo or daikon, thinly cut into 1 inch squaresIMG_2725
  • About 1-2 cups of water and more to rinse the mackerel
  • 1 jalapeño, Serrano, or red pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced

Marinade ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of gochugaru (고추가루, red pepper powder)
  • 1 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of sake or mirin
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, brown or white
  • 1 tablespoon of starch syrup, corn syrup or agave
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of gochujang (고추장, red pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • A pinch a black pepper
  1. Boil a few cups of water to rinse out the mackerel pikes.
  2. While the water is boiling, mix all the marinade ingredients.IMG_2726
  3. If you are using a canned mackerel, I like to rinse it in boiling water once. Drain the liquid from the can, place the mackle pieces in a sieve and pour boiling water over your sink. You can skip this step if you are in a rush.IMG_2728
  4. Spread out the cut moo on the bottom of a pot, place the mackerel on top of the moo, and add the onions and about 1-2 cups of water. Pour the marinade over the fish and bring it to a boil with the lid open.IMG_2729
  5. When the dish starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium and occasionally spoon the sauce over the fish. Let is cook until sauce is reduced to about half. Add the peppers and scallions and cook for another minute or two.IMG_2732
  6. Serve with a bowl of rice.  IMG_2737

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