Saturday, November 25, 2017

Venetian cuisine meets South Korean flavors: Baccala' alla Coreana

Venetian and South Korean cuisines have few commonalities, but one of them is their love for sun dried Pollock (bacala' in Venetian, and 북어구이 in Korean). This recipe combines some traditional ingredients from this distant regions to generate something unique and remarkably tasty.

This is how the dish looks like:

Baccala' alla Coreana

Ingredients for 3 people

  • 200 gr of dried pollock (it is very affordable when you buy it at Asian grocery stores, less so on-line [amazon])
  • 400 gr of Italian pasta (spaghetti or rigatoni)
  • 2 tablespoons of fermented soy paste (된장)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (ajo)
  • dried krill (schie)
  • chili flakes
  • wakame flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of powder garlic
  • avocado oil
  • extra virgin olive oil (ojo de oiva)


While both the European and the Korean dried pollock are prepared in the same way and have exactly the same flavor profile, The Korean version is usually sold pre-cleaned and pre-shredded. This saves a ton of work: the European version require overnight soaking and it may require a lot of hours of work to clean. because of it I strongly recommend buying the Korean version.

The Korean version of dried pollock is typically pre-cleaned and pre-shredded.
In Europe we typically buy the entire fish, that requires long and time consuming preparations.

된장 is one of the most famous Korean sauces, a distant cousin of the well known Japanese Miso. It is a paste, fermented to obtain a delicious umami flavor. Traditionally it was sold as bricks, but nowadays you buy it inside practical jars or plastic containers.

된장 in its traditional brick form.

Cooking Instructions

  • Cut the dried pollock in 1 inch long pieces.
  • Put them in a pot, and cover them with water.
  • Bring the water to a boil, drain the pollock quickly with a strain and rinse it.
    This step is done to "clean" the pollock.
  • Put the pollock back into the pot. Add two cloves of garlic smashed in half  with a fork. Add enough water to cover everything under half an inch of water.
  • Bring everything to a boil, and then let it simmer for 10 minutes.
The dried pollock simmering with the garlic

  • On a pan add avocado oil, the two tablespoons of fermented soy paste (된장), and the granulated garlic.
  • stir fried everything for few second
Stir fry the soy paste and the garlic on a pan
  • Add half a cup of water, mix everything very well so there are no clumps. Bring to a boil and let it simmer slowly.
Add the water, stir well, and let it simmer.
  • Get rid of the bulk of the remaining water in the pollock pot, and add the pollock to the pan with the sauce.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of dried krill and of chili flakes on top.
Add the pollock and the krill in the sauce pan
  • Mix everything together and let it simmer.
Add the chili flakes, mix, and let it simmer.
  • Cook the pasta in a separate pot (bring 1.5 liters of water, add the pasta when the water is boiling, reduce heat and let it cook for the amount of time listed in the pasta box). Try to keep the pasta al dente, i.e. a little hard, not mushy.
  • Drain the pasta with a colander
  • Add the pasta into the pan with the sauce, add one tablespoon of olive oil, and stir. This step is needed so that the pasta ciapa el consier, i.e. absorbe the flavor of the sauce.

  • Serve it right away after garnishing it with some wakame flakes and dry krill.
Delicious and healthy!

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