First, make soup. Preferably, with fish stock or dashi. Simmer it first, and then get it cooking pretty hot, to the point that it’s close to a boil. Either make it in a wide, shallow skillet or a nice deep pot. If you want to make chowder out of it, don’t forget potatoes and such — but don’t add the milk products yet!
You can buy dashi powder (powdered bonito fish and various soup ingredients) in most Asian groceries and some American ones. You’ll see the small box and the price, and it will look like you are getting ripped off; but it’s 1 1/3 tsp. of dashi powder for 2 1/2 cups of soup! Three small packets will make you gallons of soup for the foreseeable future.
Now, you need fish and a stick. Technically, we’re using “fish cake” or “surimi” for this, which is bits o’ fish stuck together with starch. You know, fake crabmeat. As I said last week, I got a deal on frozen Korean fish cake on a stick, so that’s what I used. But you can just use a kabob or bamboo skewer, and just stick pieces of surimi onto it. If you do this, make sure the surimi pieces are reasonably thin.
If you’re using frozen fish cake or surimi, it will cook a lot faster if you thaw it first! But hey, if you’ve got the time, crockpots are very happy to cook frozen food too.
Put the skewers of fish into the broth so that the broth covers it. If a little bit is sticking out, you will want to cover the pot so that the steam cooks any exposed bits. It’s okay if the lid is not super-tight; my skewers were sticking out over the edge of my crockpot, and they did okay.
Cook thawed fish for about 10-15 minutes. If you have any doubts, just cook it longer. It might get tough, though, so just use your judgment.
Eat the delicious fish onna stick, with a plate underneath to catch the broth drippings. If you want dipping sauce, have that, too.
Eat the delicious soup, unless you want to turn it into chowder. If you do, now is the time to add cream, milk, butter, condensed milk, or however your family does it. You only have to cook chowder with milk in it for a pretty short time, like ten to twenty minutes. (Otherwise, the milk tends to burn or get overcooked.)
This is nice, because you get two delicious dishes out of the same pot. And you can’t get any cheaper fish than fake crabmeat/surimi.
Eomukguk: A recipe for homemade Korean fish cake and authentic soup made with yummy anchovies, as well as an explanation of how it works if you buy it from a street food vendor. Maangchi is a great place to learn more about homemade Korean food. It explains this recipe a lot better.
Oden: The Japanese version of the same thing. It’s not just skewers but a big hot pot thing.