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Korean Raw Skate or Ray Wings, what am I doing wrong?

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I made the recipe below for Hong Hweh ( AKA Hongeohoe muchim) marinated raw skate wing, but it did not turn out like I thought it should. First, I started with an eight inch wide whole skate wing, and let it thaw out. I did not want it go bad so I put the whole wing in a sealable plastic bag and added vinegar and salt. I could not cut up the frozen skate - so I could not really follow the instructions below very well. The recipe is missing salt, so I added it as I saw fit. Most Korean dishes are pretty salty, especially the pickled ones, so I though it was appropriate.

Everything went well, except for the skate. Removing it from the cartilaginous skeleton was very difficult and I ended up with scrapings, not really slices. I added it to the vegetables and thought the dish was a little flat so I ate it with some Gochujang - or Korean fermented soy-chilli paste. The taste was pretty good - still not very salty, but just fine with the other dishes - Kalbi tang (a beef soup), grilled salted mackerel, and an assortment of kimchee and namul. However....

The skate was a bit flat tasting. It tasted of the vinegar, and slightly fishy, but nothing special. And the texture was sort of like a wet towel!

What might I be doing wrong?

Interestingly, I had so much of the cartilage leftover that I put some soy sauce and sugar on it and grilled it. It was pretty good. Lots of the cartilage was even edible as it softened on the grill.

Hong Hweh recipe for Eunny-

Frozen skate (You must use frozen skate, if you use fresh the texture will be really weird).

Heinz white vinegar (buy the big jug at Costo)

Minari stems

Yang Pah ("Western onions" or to our "Western" egulleters plain ole onion)

Pah tips (scallions)

Julienned carrots

Julienned Mu (Daikon radish)


Cucumbers and bell peppers

Korean red pepper flakes

sesame oil


roasted sesame seeds

garlic, minced

I have no measurements. biggrin.gif

My mother always hand cuts the frozen skate. I ask the butcher to do it for me. I just can't wield a big sharp knife to hack away at a big piece of frozen, bone in fish with an active and involved two year old. The restaurant cuts of hong hweh seem to average 1/2" thickness. The hand cut are about 1" thick. My mother soaks her 1" cuts in vinegar for 2-3 hours. For the 1/2" cuts I suggest to begin checking at about 1 hour.

Julienne the mu (it should be thicker than the carrots). According to mom it's very important to gently massage in some sesame oil "ha cham he". A long time can be about 5-10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, again massage it into the mu. Add the remaing vegetables, garlic and sugar. Add more red pepper flakes if needed. Mix the indgredients well. Taste, adjust seasoning. When the skate is "cooked" enough in the vinegar to suit your taste, drain and squeeze out excess vinegar. Combine well with the seasoned vegetables. Again taste and adjust seasoning. This is the easy part of Korean cooking you can keep adjusting the seasoning. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

You can serve this as a banchan or with neng myun. Of course Eunny already knows this.

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