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Korean Roasted Fish (Saengsun Yangnyum Gui)

Korean Roasted Fish (Saengsun Yangnyum Gui)
Pat Tanumihardja for NPR /

I adapted this oh-so-easy recipe from The Korean Table, From Barbecue to Bibimbap, 100 Easy to Prepare Recipes (Tuttle Publishing 2008). The fish is first baked and then finished under the broiler to produce a nice, crispy skin.

Makes 4 servings

2-pound whole fish (choose a mild white fish such as branzino, trout or mackerel), scaled and gutted

2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt


2 tablespoons Korean coarse red pepper flakes (or chili flakes)

1 tablespoon bottled chili paste (I used sambal oelek, available in Asian markets)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and arrange a rack in the top third of the oven.

Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Lay the fish in an oiled baking pan and make 3 to 4 slashes in the skin and flesh about 1/2 inch apart. Repeat on the other side. Rub salt all over the fish and into its cavity.

Combine the sauce ingredients.

Bake the fish for 8 minutes or until it feels firm to the touch. Time will vary according to the fish. Remove the fish and spread the sauce evenly over both sides of the fish, turning it carefully with 2 large spatulas.

Raise the temperature to 425 degrees and roast for another 2 to 3 minutes until the skin starts to get crispy.

Switch to broiler mode and cook for 1 minute on each side. The fish is done when the flesh is opaque and flakes when the tip of a knife or fork is inserted at the thickest part.

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