Nakji Bokkeum or Spicy Baby Octopus Rice is a familiar and favourite dish of foodies that love spicy Korean cuisine. It is a perfect harmony between two things they love most, seafood and spiciness. You simply must try it!
What is Spicy Baby Octopus Rice?
Nakji bokkeum (낙지볶음) is a delicious and creamy octopus stir fried meal. It is regarded as a standard Korean favourite and is often consumed with buckwheat noodles or rice. Octopus has low calories, so it is thought to be great for stamina. In Korea, nakji bokkeum is usually offered hot, so individuals generally consume shellfish soup with it to decrease the feeling of heatiness.
History of Spicy Baby Octopus Rice
The origins of nakji bokkeum trace back to the 19th century, when octopus was commonly eaten raw, frozen or pan-fried. Dishes such as nakji sukhoe (leached octopus) and nakji baeksuk (boiled octopus) were served during the 20th century.
Now, with octopus being eaten more frequently and having health benefits, octopus meals such as yeonpotang (pellucid octopus soup) and nakji-bibimbap (blended rice with octopus and vegetables) were created. Granny Park Mu-Sun is claimed to be the inventor of the dish that was dubbed Mugyo-Dong. She first revealed the dish in 1965, at a tavern at the Korean Export Insurance Corporation in Seorin-dong, Seoul.
Other restaurants soon caught on due to its unique flavour, and in 1972, she established a store called Nakji Center due to the massive demand for the dish. Since the 1960s, Mugyo-dong in Seoul has been renowned for its delightful nakji bokkeum establishments.
How to make Spicy Baby Octopus Rice
Nakji-deopbap is a dish consisting of stir-fried octopus (nakji) with a serving of rice (bap). An extremely spicy meal with many variations, the basic recipe is typically straightforward. In the case of nakji-deopbap, the dishes served with a side of rice. However, other variations are often accompanied by shellfish soup. Both of these sides serve to balance out the piquant nature of the meal.
To make this dish, we first need to begin with the most important element, which is preparing the nakji. So, grab your knife and cut the head of the octopus open and remove the innards and beak. Once done, place the octopus into a big bowl. Add flour and knead for approximately 2 minutes. This not only makes the octopus easy to cut and chew, but it also removes any dirt or mud in the octopus suckers. Rinse in cold water until the octopus is no longer slippery. Let it drain for a while. Then, proceed to boil a pot of water.
Blanch the octopus first before putting it on a cutting board. It takes about 10-12 seconds to blanch. Next, drain it, and the nakji is good to go. Cut the heads and arms in bite-sized pieces. Set aside for now. For the seasoning sauce, combine all the seasoning ingredients (hot pepper flakes, soy sauce, sugar, potato starch, rice syrup and ground black pepper) in a small bowl. Then, mix well with a spoon.
The next part is cooking the dish by stir-frying it. Heat a large pan over high heat. Add vegetable oil. Stir in garlic, ginger, green chilli pepper, onion, and green onion for about 3 minutes until the garlic turns a little brown and the onion translucent. Next, add nakji and the seasoning sauce. Stir the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, pour in sesame oil and continue stirring. Finally, transfer it to a serving plate and serve right away with rice.
Where to find Spicy Baby Octopus Rice in Malaysia
The majority of Korean restaurants in Malaysia serve spicy baby octopus rice, such as Shinmapo Korean BBQ (Subang Jaya). You can also try a less spicy but mouth-watering baby octopus rice at Oiso Korean Restaurant (Petaling Jaya).
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