Korean Pan-Fried Whole Fish

Korean Pan-Fried Whole Fish

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
378 Calories
18g Fat
28g Carbs
18g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 378
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 887mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 358mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Eating the whole fish, usually yellow croaker, is common in Korea, whether it's seasoned and braised, cut up and made into a stew, or fried on the stove.

Nose-to-tail fish eating is healthy and reduces waste since you can eat everything—the skin, the head, the tail, and the fins. One of the most delicious parts of a fish is on the back part of the head, which is lost if you fillet a fish. Depending on how much oil you've used and the size of your yellow croaker, the bones in this dish might even be soft enough to eat. If you haven't used a thick layer of oil, then you might have to remove the bones before eating.

Yellow croaker is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It contains significant amounts of B6 and B12 vitamins and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, all of which may carry health benefits.

Follow this simple recipe and you'll be gifted with a fish that is crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside.


  • 2 medium whole yellow croakers, scaled and gutted

  • 3 tablespoons soju, or rice wine

  • 2 tablespoons crushed garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tablespoon chapsal (glutinous rice powder)

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • Canola oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Korean Pan-Fried Whole Fish ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Combine soju, garlic, salt, and pepper and sprinkle the mixture onto both yellow croakers. Marinate for about 15 minutes.

    whole fish with seasoning in a dish

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Mix flour, rice powder, and cornstarch together in a large bowl.

    Mix flour, rice powder, and cornstarch together in a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Dip fish into the flour mixture, coating both sides evenly.

    Dip fish into the flour mixture

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. In a pan, add at least 1/8-inch of cooking oil and heat.

    oil in a pan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Pan-fry fish over medium-high heat until both sides are nicely browned. Add extra oil if necessary. Depending on the size of the fish, it will take about 3 to 5 minutes per side to cook.

    fried whole fish in a pan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Remove from pan immediately and drain on paper towels.

    Korean Pan-Fried Whole Fish on a paper towel

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi


  • Chapsal might also say "sweet rice powder" or "sweet rice flour" or "glutinous rice flour" on the package if you're buying it at an Asian grocery store. It's called "glutinous" because it has a glue-like and sticky texture after you cook it, not because it has gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) in it. Chapsal is a gluten-free food, and so is safe for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Recipe Variations

  • This is a traditional Korean way to cook yellow croaker (also known as jogi or yellow corvina), but you can also substitute grouper and striped bass with good results.

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