Korean Mackerel

You know how sometimes when you ask a cook or chef what they put in the dish because it was the best thing you ever had and you find out all that it was was salt and pepper? Well, that is this dish, only it's just salt.

That's how amazing mackerel is. I liken it to steak for steak-lovers where all the piece of meat needs is a little salt because it has enough flavor on its own to carry a meal. Even though some people may feel mackerel is too strong or oily of a fish, I feel it is packed with flavor not to mention good oils and minerals.

I prepared both classic Korean preparations - broiled and pan-seared - because they were both so quick. I have to say pan-seared is my favorite of the two because the crispiness of the skin adds additional texture. I mixed cornstarch and rice flour as I feel the rice flour adds additional crispiness, while the cornstarch makes sure the crust of the fish is nice and light.

For the broiling method, the parchment may burn in the oven, but the fish will be fine. For the pan-seared method, do not worry about the tiny mackerel bones. Take out any obviously large ones with tweezers, but once it is pan-fried, the bones will soften some more and is usually eaten all together with the fish.

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Korean Broiled and Pan-Seared Mackerel Recipe

(Serves 1-2)

  • Broiled Mackerel
  • 2 mackerel (cleaned and gutted)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt for seasoning
  • oil for brushing
  • chillies for garnish (optional)
  • scallions for garnish (optional)

Pan-Seared Mackerel:

  • 1 mackerel (cleaned and gutted)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • chillies for garnish (optional)
  • scallions for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. Generously salt the insides and outsides of both the mackerels. Leave in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.

For broiled mackerel:

  1. Brush both sides of the mackerel with vegetable oil.
  2. Place into oven for about 8 minutes, until fish is flakey but still tender.

For pan-seared mackerel:

  1. Open up the mackerel, so that the filets are side-by-side.
  2. Dredge into cornstarch and rice flour mixture.
  3. In a pan over medium high heat, drizzle in oil. Fry fish for 2-3 minutes each side, starting skin side down. Flip fish one more time and fry skin-side for another minute.