Mama Sophia’s Broiled Red Snapper with Yang-Nyum-Jjahng (Korean Sauce)

Yesterday when I asked the Princess what she wanted for dinner, she answered her usual, “Chicken noodle soup, green beans, and mashed potatoes with sesame seeds, please.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. She even included a vegetable, which is more than I could say for myself. But then again, she has the same thing almost every night. Isn’t she bored yet?

I decided to take a risk and change the meal plan a little. I served up her usual, but also presented something new—red snapper with yang-nyum-jjang. She eyed it suspiciously.

“Try some. It’s very good,” I said.
“No.”
“How about one bite? I promise I’ll give you a maraschino cherry after dinner.”
“Well, OK.” The Princess took a bite, chewed it carefully, and swallowed. It was as though she was waiting for something to happen.
“Would you like another bite?”
“OK.”

The “another bite” turned out to be my portion of the fish, which I was more than happy to share. 🙂

The yang-nyum-jjang (loose translation, “flavoring sauce”) consists of  julienned green onions, memmi sauce, little bit of Korean red crushed pepper flakes,  and sesame oil. It can be used as an accompaniment to roast gui (non-marinaded, thinly sliced beef), when eating in a lettuce wrap and with rice.

The yang-nyum-jjang can also be used as a dipping sauce for dumplings. As a dipping sauce, the liquid ratio would be greater than the green onion ratio (i.e., the green onion would be used as a garnish instead of the main event). Also the green onions would be cut in very small pieces (the cross-section instead of lengthwise), and instead of sesame oil, you would add a splash of rice vinegar to give the sauce a slight tang.

The red snapper took a little more work than I anticipated. I had to descale the fish myself, but I guess that explains how the fish retained its fresh-looking redness on the outside and why the price was so good. When buying it at the store, you can ask that they descale it for you (if it hasn’t been descaled already), but be prepared to cook it that evening.

Recommendation: Buy the red snapper whole instead of as fillet. Towards the top of the head is the tastiest part of the fish. Some people are squeamish about seeing the head cooked with the fish, but really! They’re missing out.

Mama Sophia’s Broiled Red Snapper with Yang-Nyum Jjang (Korean Sauce) Recipe
Whole red snapper
Ginger (about 3/4 thumb size—peeled and cut in thin slices)
Garlic (6-8 cloves—thinly sliced to 2-3 mm thickness)
Sea salt

Yang-nyum-jjang
Green onions (a bunch—about 5 to 7)
Memmi sauce (about 1/8 cup)
Sesame oil (about 1-2 tbs)
Korean red pepper flakes (go-chu-gah-roo)

I. Prepare Yang-nyum-jjang:
a) Wash green onions, and peel/trim away the not-so-pretty parts (the ends). Cut into quarters length-wise, and then cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

b) Dress green onions with memmi sauce and sesame oil, and lightly sprinkle Korean red pepper flakes on top. Mix lightly.

II. Prepare Red Snapper
a) Set oven to broil.

b) Descale red snapper (if not already descaled). Rinse and dry. Lightly salt with sea salt.

c) Make 2-3 inch slits on body, every 2 inches or so, on both sides. Put ginger and garlic slices within slits and also within body cavity.

d) Place snapper on aluminum foil or parchment paper on broiler pan. Broil for about 10 minutes.

e) Take out fish, flip it over (or not—some cultures equate flipping a fish over as flipping one’s house over). Put yang-nyum-jjang on top (save the rest to be used later, if necessary), seal foil or parchment paper over and crimp edges to create a pouch. Broil for 15-20 minutes. Turn off oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

f) Transfer fish onto serving plate. Carefully open pouch (you may choose to keep or discard the pouch). Top the fish with a bit of the green onions from the the yang-nyum-jjang for visual appeal. Serve fish with steamed or stir-fried vegetables, and/or rice. The broth that naturally comes from the fish and yang-nyum-jjang cooked inside the pouch tastes delicious with the vegetables/rice.

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