Eating Nakzi, Stir-Fried

Stir-Fried Nakzi

Nakzi is Korean for baby octopus. Korean people eat it grilled, stewed, even alive. Live octopus is a popular dish in Korea, but I don't know that it has caught on in the States yet. laugh Today I'll be making spicy stir-fried octopus with vegetables.

Ingredients are:

  • 2 small octopus, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 korean squash or zucchini, cut in half length-wise and sliced
  • 1/2 carrot, sliced
  • handful of cabbage
  • a couple of mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/2 jalapeno (optional, only if you like extra spice)
  • 1-2 bundles of noodles, I used gooksoo (also called somen)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Chopped green onion and sesame seed for topping
  • Marinade, described below

Doesn't the octopus look like an alien???? surprise

Making the marinade:

2 tablespoons of gochujang, 2 tablespoons of gochugaru, 2 tablespoons of mirin, 2 tablespoons of Korean corn syrup (mul-yut), 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (I used light soy sauce), 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. Mix well.

I realize some of the ingredients are not easily accessible, but I don't know that you can substitute any of the ingredients, other than Korean corn syrup for regular corn syrup. You absolutely need gochujang and gochugaru. If it is too difficult to find at a local Asian market, you can order them online through various websites such as H-mart.

You can use fresh octopus, but I had frozen octopus in my freezer. There are two in a package, and I used both.

You want to clean out the innards which is in the head of the octopus, and wash thoroughly under running water. Then slice it into bite size sized pieces.

Beofre you start stir-frying, blanch the octopus in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds. This step makes the octopus more tender. Don't cook for longer than a few seconds. Set aside.

Start cooking the vegetables. On high heat, cook onion, squash, cabbage, and carrots with a little oil. Add 2/3 of the marinade and continue cooking. Add mushrooms and jalapenos, mix well. When the vegetables are almost cooked, add the octopus and the rest of the marinade. Cook on high heat for an additional few minutes. Don't over cook the octopus since it can become tough when cooked for too long. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil in the last 30 seconds, it adds a little nuttiness to the dish.

In the meantime, cook the noodles according to the instructions. Generally, gooksoo is cooked in boiling water for about 4-5 minutes. There are different tips on how to make the perfect gooksoo. My mother in law believes in boiling the noodles until water rises and then adding couple of ice cubes. When water boils again, then you're done. I just make sure to lift up the noodles over and over again while it's cooking, since I saw on Korean TV that it makes bounicer, firmer noodles. Whatever you do, don't overcook it. When the noodles are done, wash it in ice cold water and set aside until you're ready to eat.

Plate it, and you're ready to eat! I sprinkled some sesame seeds and green onion on top of stir-fried nakzi, and I set the noodles on top of perilla leaves with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds. You can eat this dish with noodles, like I did, or you can eat it over rice. Either way, it's delicious- spicy, savory, and a little sweet. Enjoy!

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