Fried Spicy Octopus
Nakji Bokkeum is a spicy Octopus dish, simply made up of fried octopus and vegetables fried together in a spicy sauce. This seafood dish has a very chewy texture because of the octopus tentacles.
Octopus itself is similar to Squid and is a low calorie and lean seafood which is a good source of protein, they are boneless fish with most of the meat being muscular. Young Octopi are easier to eat as an older octopus can be quite tough to eat if not prepared properly. I have used 1 whole octopus for this dish, I made a non spicy dish for my kids at the same time. It's important to prepare them properly, I will ask the fishmonger to remove the ink and octopus innards to make preparation easier, I essentially just then need to clean all the ink off of the tentacles (technique is shown below)
I have used the following ingredients:
1 whole Octopus
1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Red Pepper Powder
1 Tablespoon of Gochujang
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
2 Cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of Sesame oil
When using Octopus it's important to clean it properly, my grandmother used flour which makes it straightforward. Place the Octopus on a plate and sprinkle some flour over the top. Mix the flour in to the tentacles, and scrub all the areas of the octopus, most of the ink should transfer to the flour, Rinse under a cold tap to remove the flour and repeat again if necessary, it will probably take 2 or 3 goes.
Cut the octopus in to chunks, and slice the carrots and onion. Put some oil in a pan, and add the Octopus and vegetables, followed by all the ingredients for the sauce. Mix this together and put the pan on high heat and fry for about 5 minutes.
After this add some water to pan, about 5mm deep and allow the food to simmer for about 15 minutes to cook well, check one piece of octopus, if it's not yet cooked, cook for a further 5 minutes or so to make sure everything is done.
Sprinkle over some sesame seeds if you want to and then serve with rice, This dish goes well with non spicy side dishes to compliment or simple soups like Korean Miso or bean sprout soup. I like this dish in winter when it's really cold outside as it warms you up and has a lovely chewy texture.
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