Nakji Bokkeum
Fried Spicy Octopus

Nakji Bokkeum is a spicy octopus dish, made up of octopus and vegetables fried together in a spicy sauce. This seafood dish has a very chewy texture because of the octopus tentacles.

Octopus 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, or you can use 2 medium sizes of octopus.

It's important to prepare them properly, I will ask the fishmonger to remove the ink and octopus’ innards to make preparation easier, I just then need to clean all the ink off of the tentacles. (Technique is shown below)

I have used the following ingredients:

  • 1 big whole octopus or 2 medium octopus
  • 1 carrot
  •  ½ small white cabbage
  •  1/2 onion
  • 1 spring onion


  • 1 tablespoon of Gochujang
  •  2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of red pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic or ½ tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  •  Sprinkle of black pepper
  • Sprinkle of sesame seeds


When using octopus, it's important to clean it properly. My grandmother used flour which makes it easier.

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, it will probably take 2 or 3 goes.

If Octopus is quite clean, you can just boil them in a hot water for 5-8 mins and rinse with a cold a water. Half boiled Octopus is easy to use and quick to cook.


Cut the octopus in to chunks and slice the carrots and onion.

In a small bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients to make the sauce/paste.

Then put everything in a bag to marinate the sliced octopus and vegetables with sauce and leave for 30mins -1 hour.


Put some oil in a pan, and add the Octopus and vegetables, followed by the sauce.

Mix this together and put the pan on high heat and fry. It will take about 15 minutes if using raw octopus or 10 minutes if using half boiled octopus.

After this add some water to pan, about 5mm deep and allow the food to simmer for about 10-15 minutes to cook well on a medium heat, check one piece of octopus, if it is 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 or boiled rice noodles, this dish warms you up and has a lovely chewy texture.

Enjoy and let me know how you get on.

Return from Nakji Bokkeum to Korean Fish Recipes

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