This sweet and spicy octopus stir fry dish is a classic Korean favorite, often served with buckwheat noodles or rice. It can be made with both fresh and frozen octopus
The flavors delicately dance between sweet and spicy, from the fermented red pepper paste (gochujang) along with a hint of sugar. The spice level can easily be adjusted for the faint of heart.
Tip: Be sure to use Korean red pepper paste and Korean red pepper flakes, as they are vastly different in flavor from their Western counterparts. The ingredients can easily be found in any Asian grocery store. —Ambitious
For the sauce
Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
For the stir fry
Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
white or yellow onion, cut into 1/2" pieces
carrots, cut into 1/2" pieces
Asian green long peppers, deseeded and cut into 1/2" pieces
cloves of garlic, minced
octopus (fresh or frozen), cut into 1" pieces
stalk of scallion, cut into small pieces, for garnish
grapeseed oil (or some other oil good for high heat cooking)
Prepare the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Rinse octopus under cold water. Using a very sharp knife, cut the tentacles into 1? pieces, and the head into 4 pieces. (Peel octopus if you want to, but skin is not noticeable once it’s cooked.) Fill a bowl with very cold water and place the octopus there until you’re ready to cook. If using frozen octopus, thaw in a bowl filled with cold water for about 20 minutes.
Add sesame oil, red pepper flakes and garlic into a large cold pan. Turn the heat to medium and stir it around for 1-2 minutes, until the sesame oil has turned to a deep red hue. (The heat is added gradually in order to avoid burning the garlic pieces.)
Add all the vegetables to the same pan and pour about half of the sauce mixture. Cook over medium heat until all the vegetables have cooked through, about 5 minutes. The onions will release a lot of water, so cook until all the water has evaporated.
Drain water from the bowl containing the octopus. Add octopus to the pan, then pour rest of the sauce. Stir and cook until octopus is no longer translucent in color, about 3-4 minutes.
Garnish with scallion pieces and serve immediately with rice or buckwheat noodles.