Korean Spicy Fish Stew – Maeun Tang (매운탕)

Maeun Tang is a super delicious Korean fish soup that literally translates to ‘spicy soup’. Growing up I’ve watched my mom make maeun tang with fish head and bones after filleting the fish for sashimi.

You can definitely use chunks of fish but the bones and head is a good way to minimize waste and use every part of the fish. I recently went fishing with my boyfriend and he caught a keeper fluke so I knew I had to make maeun tang with it!

Fish head is a popular ingredient in many Asian cultures, but I haven’t really seen it used as the main ingredient in Western cuisine! Are there any fish head recipes in your culture that you enjoy?

Maeun Tang

Servings 2 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins


  • 1 pound white fish or fish bones/heads (flounder, fluke, cod, sea bass), cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound Korean radish sliced into 1/4 inch thickness
  • 1/2 zucchini sliced
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 1 long green pepper sliced
  • 1 red hot chili pepper sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 oz bean sprouts
  • 5 sprigs of chrysanthemum greens optional
  • 1/2 block soft tofu sliced

Anchovy Broth

  • 4 cups water
  • 8 dried anchovies innards removed
  • 2 oz 2 oz dried kelp
  • 1/2 medium onion


  • 1 tbsp gochujang Korean hot pepper paste
  • 3 tbsp gochugaru Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp soup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce


  • Let's prepare the anchovy broth! In a pot, combine water dried anchovies, dried kelp, and onion. Boil for 10 minutes then strain.
  • Transfer the anchovy broth into a pan along with Korean radish. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the radish are tender.
  • For the seasoning, combine gochujang, gochigaru, soup soy sauce, and fish sauce. Mix together until it forms a paste.
  • Add 3/4 of the seasoning paste to the broth and mix until fully dissolved. At this point, you want to taste for the spice levels and adjust accordingly! If you prefer it spicier, add the remaining seasoning paste.
  • Toss in the fish and cover for 10 minutes or until it's fully cooked. Add garlic, zucchini, and bean sprouts, and cook for 2-3 minutes until they've softened up.
  • Add the tofu, green pepper, red pepper, and chrysanthemum greens and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Korean

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