Koreans’ lives with pollack
Narae Stockfish Food
Pollack Story The story of Korean pollack fish
The fish for Koreans.
It is about the pollack which has unique clear & fresh taste.
Because, the pollacks are the fishes Koreans enjoy very well differently from other countries. The peak season is from December to January and there is nothing to waste from head to tail of pollack. The pollacks deeply settled into Koreans’ lives. Following these traces, we certainly face with our ancestors’ wisdom as well. The east coast of Korea, well-known as clean area, is the sea where cold current and warm current meets, and boasts for abundant fishing grounds.
In the past, number of pollacks that Korean ships caught reached over 100~200millions a year, which meant each Korean had about 10 pollacks a year. Although the fishes such as mackerels, anchovies, cutlassfishes and etc. were the best as they’re common, they couldn’t pass over pollacks. The pollacks, of which peak season is winter, had been dried by Korean typical freeze-drying methods and could be circulated widely throughout Korea. We call ‘Buk-Uh’ for the pollacks simply dried on the racks near fishing port. The pollacks dried in cold valleys by repeatedly freeze-drying during winter season are recognized as the best dried pollacks, which are called as ‘Hwangtae (Yellow Pollack). Pollacks were used when Koreans had ceremonial occasions; such as aging, wedding, funeral, and ancestral rites. The dried pollacks were always on the ancestral rites table and a folk religion is still remained that invokes a blessing with tying a pollack with string when moving house, or opening a new store.
Dried pollacks, or pollacks are part of Koreans’ lives, which is melted into Koreans’ emotion as it is.
Pollack has over 20 different names depending on how it is caught, where it is caught, and when it is caught.
As the various names of pollack, there are many kinds of foods made with ‘pollack’ such as pollack stew, pollack spicy stew, pollack boiled with soy sauce, grilled Hwangtae (dried pollack), steamed Hwangtae smothered in spicy sauce, Hwangtae soup, seasoned shredded Hwangtae and etc. Korean ancestors made some preserved & fermented foods with pollack, pollack’s roes (mentaiko), pollack’s intestines and pollack’s gills; Mentaiko (Roe Jeotgal) is made with pollack roes, Innard Jeotgal with pollack intestines, Gills Jeotgal with pollack gills. In east coast, they used pollacks instead of salted fishes when they made Gimchi for the winter season, which provided them with abuntant amino acid. In northern east coast, they made ‘Sikhae’ with pollacks, which became a very important protein source during winter season. (Pollack Sikhae is a fermented food made with Pollack, cooked millet, shredded radish, salt, red pepper and etc.)
Pollack is abundant with nutrients such as protein, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A, essential amino acids and etc. Especially, frozen-dried ‘Hwangtae’, repeatedly frozen and dried under snow and wind during cold winter season, has the protein 4 times more than pollack and some of proteins are decomposed into amino acids during drying and aging time on the racks, which allows easy absorption into body.
When a family is seated together at the dinner table in winter, a simmering pollack stew; when having no appetite, Pollack roe Jeotgal (Mentako) or Pollack Innard Jeotgal which could make finishing a bowl of rice in the blink of an eye; when slightly hungry winter night, Grilled ‘Hwangtae’ which is perfect sidedish for a drink; After frequent get-together at the end of year, Hwangtae soup for fantastic hangover soup. Anytime, anyplace, pollacks become various foods every Korean loves.