Oily fish, such as mackerel, are strong-flavored and pair well with boldly seasoned glazes made from gochujang chile paste. The red, rich paste is so common in Korea that it is sold in virtually every supermarket in plastic containers ranging in size from about 2 cups to about 2 quarts. Normally the main ingredients are fermented soybeans ground with red chiles and powdered rice, plus a little salt and sweetener.

Jamie Purviance
Source: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2010


Recipe Summary

1 hr


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk chile paste, oil, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer 2 tablespoons marinade to a small bowl and set aside.

  • Open each fish like a book, exposing the flesh. Place in a large pan or on a baking sheet and spread the remaining marinade over the flesh. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  • About 20 minutes before you're ready to grill, preheat grill to high or prepare a charcoal fire.

  • Brush the grill rack clean and oil it well (see Tip). Grill the fish, flesh-side down, for 3 minutes. Flip with a large spatula, spread the reserved marinade over the fish and grill until opaque in the center, 3 to 4 minutes more.


Notes: Both wild-caught mackerel from the Atlantic and farmed rainbow trout from the U.S. are considered best choices for the environment, according to seafoodwatch.org. For this recipe, you'll need whole mackerel (or rainbow trout) that has been cleaned, butterflied and the heads removed (tails left on). Availability of whole mackerel (or trout) varies, but most fish markets or fish departments at large supermarkets can order and clean the fish for you. Call ahead to make sure you get what you're looking for.

Korean chile paste (also called hot pepper paste, gochujang or kochujang) is a fermented spicy condiment made from red chiles, soybeans and salt. Find it in Korean or Asian markets or online from koamart.com. Annie Chun, a widely distributed national brand of Asian foods, has recently launched their own bottled gochujang sauce that is becoming increasingly available in large supermarkets. It keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator. To make a substitute for Korean chile paste, combine 2 tablespoons white miso, 2 tablespoons Asian-style chile sauce, such as sriracha, and 2 teaspoons molasses.

Tip: To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Fish on foil: Fish that flakes easily requires a delicate touch to flip on the grill. If you want to skip turning it over when grilling, measure a piece of foil large enough to hold the fish and coat it with cooking spray. Grill the fish on the foil (without turning) until it flakes easily and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.

People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition Facts

221 calories; protein 33.9g; carbohydrates 3.9g; sugars 0.3g; fat 6.8g; saturated fat 0.9g; cholesterol 86.8mg; vitamin a iu 1070.3IU; vitamin c 2.1mg; folate 11.5mcg; calcium 51.8mg; iron 3mg; magnesium 53.9mg; potassium 721.1mg; sodium 612.4mg; thiamin 0.2mg.

Reviews (3)

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3 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
Unlike anything else My friend had caught loads of mackerels and I was looking for something different to cook with it. Loved the taste of this dish and found it quite different then anything else (although I am quite familiar with other Asian cuisines). Oh and unlike the person in the 1st review I no problem finding the paste in the Asian supermarket. Pros: Unusual taste Cons: none Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I just caught Atlantic mackerel today. And I'm reading a lot about curing it first with salt and rice vinegar. Would it be best practice to do that to eliminate that strong fishy taste, before cooking this recipe? Thank you. Look forward to trying this recipe... Read More
Rating: 4 stars
This dish was simple to make and delicious. I had a REALLY tough time finding the gochujang paste even at an Asian supermarket (FYI - try looking for it in a tube if you don't see a tub). I'm glad I made the effort though because it has a great taste - pleasantly spicy but not so hot that you can't enjoy the flavor. I used trout and it was great on the grill. Be sure to really oil the grill though - I oiled mine fairly well and the fish still stuck a little bit and I had to loosen it up with a spatula. If you haven't eaten much trout before trying to avoid the tiny bones is a bit annoying but the finished product was so tasty that it made up for the extra work. Read More