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!
Jjukkumi Gui (Spicy Grilled Baby Octopus)Print Recipe
- 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.