Do you like seafood? What about octopus? Don’t worry, it is cooked. And not just cooked, but stir-fried! Nakji bokkeum (낙지볶음), a stir-fried small octopus served with several vegetables, is a very popular Korean dish.
Nakji bokkeum was introduced in 1965, which makes it fairly new. But it’s origins date back to the 19th century. Back then, octopus was consumed pan-fried, dried or raw. You might say that it is still consumed raw by many people today, and what can I say? Old habits die hard I guess. I have never tried eating raw octopus, and it is not an experience I am dreaming about either. But I would like to try Nakji bokkeum, as it looks delicious, especially for people who like spicy meals, like me. Anyway, back to the subject. It is believed that the dish was created by Granny Park Mu-Sun. It was nicknamed as Mugyo-Dong then. She revealed it at a tavern in Seoul in 1965 and, as you would expect, there was soon a large demand and the dish was adopted by the restaurants. Since 1960’s Seoul has been famous for its nakji bokkeum restaurants.
Nakji bokkeum is prepared with a small octopus and several vegetables, such as green onions, onions, carrots and cabbage. A marinade is prepared with gochujang(Korean red pepper paste), garlic, soy sauce, salt and sugar. The octupus is mixed with the vegetables and then they are marinated. Finally, everything fries together to create this spicy and delicious meal. Because it is so spicy, people usually eat shellfish soup with it to reduce the hotness. It is a low-calorie food and believed to be good for stamina.
If you go to Seoul -and have no problem with spicy food- I recommend trying this. Remember to check the gallery and the recipes!
Main ingredients: Small octopus, vegetables, gochujang