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Pan-fried Breaded Fish, Saeng-seon-jeon

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kid friendly
nut free
prep time: 
10 min
inactive time: 
0 min
cooking time: 
20 min
total time: 
30 min

Saeng-seon-jeon is a quick and easy to turn boring fish into a gourmet dish. Traditionally saeng-seon-jeon was enjoyed during special holidays like seol-nal (new year’s day) or chu-seok (korean thanks giving) along with other savory Korean pancakes, and breaded and pan-fried vegetables.

Sae-seon-joen can be served as a main dish or a side dish along with rice, soup and other banchan (korean side dish). It’s not too heavy so it can be served for breakfast too. You can also turn this into Hors d'oeuvres for your party or eat as a snack full of protein.

If you want to give a creative twist, add your favorite herbs in the egg mix or sprinkle it on top.

Once cooked this dish should keep in the fridge for a day or two but it can get fishy if you don’t eat it right away.

Buy Korean ingredients online here.

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Change to: Metric US
9 ozCod 대구 (any white fish such as haddock, sole, cod is ok)
¾ cupFlour 밀가루 (use buchimgaru for extra crispiness and flavor. use rice flour for a gluten free version)
Egg 계란
1 tbsSalt 소금
1 tspBlack Pepper 후추
3 tbsVegetable Oil 식용유

for dipping sauce

1 tbsSoy Sauce (regular) 왜간장
1 tbsVinegar 식초
1 tbsWater 물
1 tspSesame Oil 참기름 (optional)
½ tspGarlic (minced) 다진 마늘 (optional)
½ Green Onion 파 (optional)
Green Chili Pepper 풋고추 (optional)

Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Dipping sauce is optional. If you are not using dipping sauce make sure your fish and egg mix is well seasoned.
Also, you can make a simple dipping sauce with just soy sauce, vinegar and water.

Traditionally white fish is used for this dish but you can use this recipe for any type of fish.

Good to Know
If you pan-fry on high heat with more oil, it will be crispier. To make it crispy, make sure the pan and the oil is pretty hot.
If fish is thick, use high heat to quickly brown the surfaces and lower the heat to cook the fish through.

If you want softer texture, cook on low heat with less oil.

More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comment section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.

Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Thaw fish

If frozen fish is used, thaw the fish in room temperature water or in the fridge overnight. Make sure the fish is completely thawed. Otherwise, water will come out of fish as it is being cooked and the breading will come off.

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Thaw fish

2. Wash & Pat dry

Gently rinse the fish under running water. Dry it with a kitchen towel.

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Rinse with water

Pat dry

3. Cut

Cut fish into large bite sized pieces. You can cut it bigger if you like.

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Cut into bite sizes

4. Prep

Mince 1 clove of garlic. Chop ½ green onion. Slice 1 chili peppers. These are for the dipping sauces. You can skip them if you don’t have them.

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Mince 1 garlic clove

Chop ½ green onion

Slice 1 green chili peppers

5. Season

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the fish.

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Season fish

  • salt
  • pepper

6. Dredge in flour

Lightly dredge the fish pieces in flour or buchimgaru (Korean pancake mix). You can use rice flour for a gluten free version.

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Dredge in flour or buchimgaru

7. Make egg mix

Beat an egg with ⅛ tsp of salt.

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Beat an egg

with ⅛ tsp salt

8. Coat with egg

Coat the flour covered fish pieces with eggs by dipping them in the egg mix. Flip the fish in the egg mix so all sides are coated.

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Coat fish with egg

9. Preheat pan

Coat a nonstick pan with vegetable oil and preheat for 1 minute on high heat.

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Coat pan with vegetable oil

  • preheat

High Heat image: highheat.png image: clock.png 1 min

10. Panfry

Add fish pieces. Cook until the bottom is light golden brown. If you pan-fry on high heat, it will be crispier. If you want softer texture, cook on low heat. If fish is thick, use high heat to quickly brown the surfaces and lower the heat to cook the fish through.

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Add fish

Cook until light golden brown

11. Flip

Flip the fish. Cook until the other side is golden color.

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Cook until golden.

High Heat image: highheat.png

12. Drain oil

Transfer them onto paper towel or a flat strainer to drain oil.

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Place on paper towel.

13. Dipping sauce

Mix 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of water, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, ½ teaspoon of minced garlic. Add sliced chili peppers and chopped green onions. You can add ground sesame seeds if you want a more nutty flavor.

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  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp minced garlic


  • sliced chili peppers
  • chopped green onions

14. Serve

Arrange the fish on a plate. Serve it with a dipping sauce on the side.

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