Jjukkumi Gui (Spicy Grilled Baby Octopus)

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

Defrost, if frozen. If not pre-cleaned, remove and discard the inside of the head and beak. See more here. Rinse the octopus well under cold running water.


Combine the marinade ingredients. Pour over the octopus and mix to coat well. Marinate for 2 to 3 hours (up to overnight) in the fridge. Heat a lightly oiled grill or a grill pan to medium high and sear for about 3 minutes, turning a couple of times. Do not overcook. Plate them on the optional cucumber slices to serve.


Leave a Comment



  1. I am not into octopus but would love to try this with squid or baby octopus. I am loving your marinate...Thank you for sharing helpful instructions and have a lovely week ahead!
  2. Yumgoggle says:
    They look really flavorful. I have always been amazed with Korean spices and flavors. This is a must try!
    Anyhoo, we have just recently launched a food photo submission site, http://www.yumgoggle.com/gallery/ that allows you to showcase all your great work and share it with all of our visitors. Your phenomenal photos have caught our attention. We’d be proud to have your work as part of our growing collection to continue to have a larger reach and further inspire all fellow food lovers out there! (sorry for the blatant shameless plug)!
  3. This looks so good....will definitely be trying this soon!
  4. Oh wow! I love the color of this dish! Where did you get the 쭈꾸미? I'd love to try this recipe!!
  5. Hyosun, good to see your post. I actually never tried 쭈꾸미. Can you believe that? I love octopus and squid, everything made with them. I bet this will taste so good, especially with grilling. Hope you are doing well.
  6. Kitchen Riffs says:
    I admit I'm one of those people who's intimidated by octopus. Probably because I've had some that's been really poorly cooked - this is one of those foods where you have to cook it very briefly (as you do here) or cook it for a long, long time. I gotta try this sometime - thanks for the kick in the pants.
  7. OMG! This looks so good! We love octopus so I am definetly making this for my next family dinner. Thanks so much!
  8. This seems so delicious. I want to cook for my Korean family. I hope I'd be able to make it right.
  9. I had this last week and haven't been able to stop thinking about them since!
    I am so glad I found this recipe. Thank you!
  10. Robert Kiss says:
    amazing recipe. they have marinated so well, loved it!
  11. Wonderful recipe. I used fresh squid instead of baby octopus, and served it over rice with pickled cucumber.
  12. made this the other night. it was so good, i couldn't stop eating it!
  13. Made it this morning for breakfast and I love it ! Thank you for the recipe =D