Friday, May 9, 2014

nakji bokkeum 낙지볶음

Octopus is an essential ingredient to one of my favourite snacks, takoyaki. The problem is, I have to buy a whole octopus for which I will only use a minimal amount for takoyaki. What was I going to do with the 10 other legs or so?

Enter the spicy korean stir-fried octopus dish: nakji bokkeum 낙지볶음.

I found this recipe from an iphone app called Kfood magazine (Vol. 002). This app presents korean food and recipes in a beautiful way with pictures and videos. Unfortunately, they’ve stopped making new volumes of it, as far as I know.

We start with preparing all the ingredients, chop the vegetables and mix the marinade sauce ingredients together.

Let's have a closer look at the octopus before we go on to Jiro style massage.

What the massage does is to break up tough fibres within the octopus. This is a popular method in Japan and Korea.

Sprinkle the octopus with flour. The flour helped me grab hold of the slippery octopus. I did this for about 5 minutes, lest my arm was about to fall off. The longer you massage, the tender it will be, a great vigorous work out for anyone wanting to tone their arms!

Rinse the flour off with water and remove the octopus.

Chop the octopus into bite-sized pieces.

I definitely cut them too big here on some of the thicker parts, which I would definitely cut in half lengthwise next time.

Add the spicy marinade ingredients to the octopus pieces. Leave to marinate.

Add 2 tbsp of canola to the frying pan. Over medium heat, sauté the carrots first until tender.

Add the onion and capsicum. Sauté for a minute or two until the onion soften somewhat.

Now you have to work fast. Octopus turns tough too easily. The key is high heat for a short period of time. It’s in and out, people.

Turn up the heat to high. Move the vegies to the side and add the octopus.

Stir fry briefly on its own before combining with the vegies. Remove the frying pan from the heat as soon as the octopus turns opaque. Any longer and your jaw will need the same massaging as has been done to the octopus.

Add the spring onions and garlic slices. Stir to mix.

Serve with a cold beer. Or in my case, ginger beer.

Nakji bokkeum 낙지볶음
by Kfood magazine

  • 200g frozen octopus, thawed
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 1 carrot, sliced thinly
  • 1 green capsicum, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Spicy marinade:
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsbp mirin
  • ½ tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp gochujang
  • 1 tbsp honey

  1. Massage octopus with half a cup of flour for 5 minutes. Rinse and massage with water to remove the flour.
  2. Cut the octopus into bite sized pieces. Mix with the spicy marinade ingredients and set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, sauté the carrots first until they soften. Add the capsicum and onion.
  4. Move the vegetables to the side of the frying pan. Turn up the heat to high. Add the octopus to the vacant space. Stir-fry briefly on its own before combining with the vegetables. Remove frying pan from heat as soon as octopus turns opaque.
  5. Add spring onions, garlic slices & sesame seeds. Stir to combine.
  6. Serve with a bowl of rice and/or your choice of beer.

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