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Jan 27, 2008 03:44 PM

Korean Spicy Stir Fried Octopus - Nakji Bokkeum

Nakji Bokkeum(sp?) (Spicy Stir Fried Octopus)

1 lb octopus
1/2 white or yellow onion
2 fresh chili or jalapeño peppers
1 small carrot
1 small red or green bell pepper
4 to 6 shiitake or one cluster (1/2 cup) coral mushroom
1 tablespoon sesame cooking oil

Stir Fry Sauce
2 1/2 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili paste)[substitute]
2 tablespoon fine ground chili powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
5 cloves fresh garlic

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 green onions



Wash octopus well in cold water.
Cut tentacles from head, then cut into 2 1/2 inch sections.
Open head and remove the insides.
Cut head into equal sized strips (quarters or eighths).

Wash carrot and thinnly slice.
Cut onion in half from top to bottom, then thin slice (about 1/8 inch thick).
Remove stem from chili/jalapeño peppers, cut in half from top to bottom, and slice into thin slivers.
Cut bell pepper in half from top to bottom, then thin slice into strips.
Thin Slice mushrooms.

Mix Sauce
Crush or mince garlic into a medium mixing bowl.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix well.
Let stand at least fifteen minutes.

Add octopus to sauce and let stand for fifteen to twenty minutes.


Heat a stir fry pan over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium.
Quickly add sesame cooking oil and carrot.
Stir fry for two minutes.
Add onion and peppers and stir fry for one minute.
Add all other ingredients and stir fry for about five minutes (Octopus sections should curl somewhat).

Serve hot with sticky rice and ban chan.

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  1. is 'sesame cooking oil' different from 'sesame oil'?

    1 Reply
    1. re: toodie jane

      Some bottles of sesame oil are labeled cooking oil and some aren't. Generally you can use any type of sesame oil for cooking but the stronger flavored roasted/toasted varieties are normally used as finishing oils. They usually come in the small bottles.
      The sesame "cooking" oils have a much lighter flavor, usually come in larger containers, and do not say roasted/toasted on the label.
      Then you have the sesame/Soy or sesame/canola, etc, that have almost no flavor and higher flashpoints for higher temp stir fries and such.

      In this dish both a cooking and finishing oil are used. The sesame oil for the stir fry sauce should have said "Toasted Sesame Oil"

    2. This is a great dish - pretty much my go to whenever going to korean restaurants. Never thought to track down the recipe.

      Many thanks!

      1. Does anyone know how long this keeps in the fridge after it's cooked? Thanks!

        1 Reply
        1. re: link_930

          Since we never have leftovers when we do this dish, I really don't know. I would use it up within a couple of days.

        2. Thank you, thank you; one of my favorite dishes!

          Can you use those baby octopus for it? They're usually easier to find in my neighborhood...

          3 Replies
            1. re: hannaone

              I'm planning on making this next week. I bought frozen "prepared" already chopped octopus at a Korean grocery store and the instructions on the package say to parboil, but doesn't say for how long. Any idea how long I should parboil the octopus for?

              1. re: saucedjen

                hannaone, I hope you don't mind if I jump in... saucedjen, depending on how large the chopped pieces are, you can throw them in just defrosted (rinsed and patted dry). If you really want to parboil, I wouldn't do it for more than a minute or two, and at a simmer. Otherwise, the octopus will turn rubbery.