Korean food question
Last night I ate at a Korean place near me. I tried a dish called (in English transliteration) Oh Dang.....
with a name like that, I had to try it. The dish was described as "kinds of fish balls in dry anchovy soup"...It was good, but I'm curious as to what it was.
What kind of fish? I've never heard of dried anchovies, and if you made soup of them, wouldn't they be wet?
Short response today. Sorry I should have gotten to this earlier. Odaeng, refers to the fish cakes you found floating in the soup. These could be fish balls, or fish cakes (i.e. slabs of ground fish...cakes for the lack of a better word). The fish stock in this case is probably similar to what Maria describes, although in most restaurants, they will use some instant powder. Some of these brands are actually quite good, and dealing with the real fish is sometimes not worth the effort. I believe a popular Japanese brand is Hondashi. We use it here in Korea for milder soups and its quite good. The problem with many of the Korean instant powder stock is that it contains bad ass MSG. I am not sure about Hondashi but you don't taste it as much.
With respect to the actual anchovy fish itself, these start from about index finger size down to little itty bitty little minnows that are about 1/2 an inch long. All of these sorts of "anchovies" are referred to as "myulchi" or "meruchi." Some of them are quite good as banchan. You will notice a popular banchan consisting of hot green peppers with these small fish. Some like the peppers, I like the fish.
Koreans and Japanese often use dried fish as the basis for clear broths. I don't know if they're always what we in the West would recognise as an anchovy, but they're probably in the same family of fish. They can be grilled and then dried or boiled and then dried. You buy them whole in bags. When you want to make a broth, you break off the heads, split them and pinch out the stomach area. Rinse well and cover in cold water(the volume of broth you wish to have)with or without a small piece of konbu. Let this soak a few hours, then bring it to a boil. Remove the konbu at this time to prevent bitterness, then boil the broth with the fish for a few more minutes. Let the broth settle before you strain it, and you have unseasoned clear soup base. The same procedure can be used with the different types of flaked dried fish you see at Asian grocers as well.
I use 6 index-finger-size fish in 800 ml water with a 7cm square konbu, or a generous fistful of fish flakes in same volume of water.