I know that a lot of people are intimidated by octopus. If you're one of them, I urge you to try your hand at it with baby octopus, jjukkumi. Baby octopus is naturally tender and easy to handle. They are usually sold frozen (and pre-cleaned) here in the U.S. In case you're wondering, unlike the name suggests, baby octopus is fully grown octopus of a small species. If you prefer, you can also use small squids for this recipe. Octopus, baby octopus and squid are popular ingredients in Korea. They are most commonly prepared with a spicy gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste) sauce. In the past, I shared how to make a spicy stir-fried squid dish, ojingeo bokkeum. You can use baby octopus for that recipe as well. Here, these little guys are marinated in a spicy gochujang sauce and seared quickly on the grill. Marinating helps tenderize the octopus, so give it sufficient time to marinate. It will be tender, enjoyably chewy, not to mention a burst of flavor with every bite!
2 to 3 servings
1 pound (10 - 12) baby octopus
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)
2 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang)
1 to 2 teaspoons Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine (or mirin)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
here. Rinse the octopus well under cold running water.