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Spicy Cod, Clam and Tofu Casserole (Maeun Tang)


Brick-colored, soupy casseroles flavored with sweet-spicy chili paste (kochujang) are the backbone of the Korean diet. For this seafood version, Koreans would use a light beef broth or the water left over from soaking rice. Anya von Bremzen substituted a mixture of water and clam juice.

  1. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons Korean sweet-spicy chili paste (kochujang)
  3. 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  4. One 4-inch piece of daikon—peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  5. 6 scallions, white parts only
  6. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  7. 1 tablespoon Sesame Salt
  8. 4 cups water
  9. 2 cups clam juice
  10. 2 pounds cod steaks—cut 1 1/2 inches thick, skin and bones removed, bones reserved
  11. 18 small clams, such as Manila clams, littlenecks or cockles
  12. 1 to 2 teaspoons coarsely ground Korean red chile <(gocho karu)
  13. 1/2 pound soft tofu, cut into 1 1/2-inch dice
  14. Steamed Rice, for serving
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a medium enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the chili paste and stir over low heat for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, daikon, scallions, garlic and Sesame Salt and stir until aromatic and the vegetables just begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the water and clam juice and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cod into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Wrap the reserved bones in cheesecloth. When the soup boils, reduce the heat to low and add the bones; simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bones.
  3. Increase the heat to moderate and add the cod. Cover and simmer until the fish is almost cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add the clams, cover and cook until they open, about 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a small skillet. Add the ground red chile and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir the chile oil into the casserole, add the tofu and simmer for 2 minutes. Ladle into wide bowls and serve with rice.
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