Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spicy Baby Octopus Jjim

문어찜 [Moon-A-Jjim]

Frankly, I am not sure how to call this dish in English. It's sort of a stir-fry, but at the same time it's steamed, too. Oh well. It's Spicy Baby Octopus jjim, a Korean name for a steamed dish.

In any event, I am so happy that I finally get to share this special recipe with you. This came out of the magic touch of my mother-in-law's hands, when she was visiting us few months ago. If you are a spicy food addict like many Koreans are, this Spicy Baby Octopus jjim is to die for if not to sweat for. I don't remember how many tissue papers I blew away at the dinner table, but I do remember it was very gooood.

I tried to take good notes while my mother-in-law was making this, but you know Korean moms never bother to use any kind of measuring tools when they are cooking. FYI the measurements are only approximate.

For 4 servings

Main Ingredients:

baby octopus (approx. 2 lb, frozen is fine)
mussels (10-15, not shown)
bean sprouts (1 plastic bag, the key is to have lots of them)
minari/Japanese parsley (3-4 stalks)


potato starch (1 1/2 tbl + 1/2 cup water)
chili powder (3 tble)
chili paste (1 tble)
soy sauce (1 tble)
garlic (2 cloves, minced)
cooking wine (1 tbl)
sugar (3 tsp)

Trim the root and head of bean sprouts.

Cut off the leaves from the Japanese parsley (minari) then cut 2" to 3" long - We are only going to use stems. The Japanese parsley is called minari in Korean. Minari tastes somewhat like celery and is an important ingredient for this dish.

Thoroughly clean the baby octopus or any other seafood you would like to add (e.g., mussels or midodok), and drain.

Finally, making of sauce. Just mix in together all the sauce ingredients listed above except for the potato starch + water. That's next step.

Mix potato starch and water in a bowl and set aside. This will later be used to thicken the sauce.

Now all the prep work is done, the first step is to steam the bean sprouts. You want to steam them just until they get moistened in steam. DO NOT OVERSTEAM.

In a large pot or a deep pan, stir fry the seafood.

Soon after, add the sauce.

You know what to do now. Mix well.

When the seafood is well mixed in the sauce, add the steamed bean sprouts.

Add the Japanese parsley shortly after.

Pour the starch mix from Step 5, and mix them well together over medium heat. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over before serving.


Renee said...

I'm going to try this as soon as I can get to the Korean store. Thanks!!!

My mom doesn't measure either. So frustrating.

Anonymous said...

If I wanted to, could I substitute squid for this?

Migi said...

Yes! You can also substitute monk fish (아구) for this.

Unknown said...

What kind of cooking wine do you use? And the brand that you use?
Also, could you provide a detailed picture of the Japanese parsley?
Thanks for posting such a special recipe - I love octopus.

Migi said...

Hi, Victoria -
The cooking wine here is optional. Thre is 맛술 that almost all the sauce brands make (e.g.,오뚜기, 청정원, etc) and I don't have a particular brand that I use. I just buy whatever is on sale. I don't think I have a close-up picture of Japanese parsley other than Step #2. I'll make sure I take a better picture next time I use.

Anonymous said...

what the heck! poor baby octopus!:( they were just beginning there little lives!

Migi said...

Hi there, the baby octopus mentioned here is not actually a 'baby' octopus. There is a kind octopus that is just the size of a baby octopus when it's fully grown up. It's called ggoltugi (in Korean). I hope this helps. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've had a dish in a Korean restaurant and I think it's called spicy octopus salad, the octopus was cooked and cut into pieces and served with raw vegetables like carrots, onions, apples, spring onion with a spicy sauce, would you know of this dish and if you would have a recipe? thank you

Migi said...

I think you mean octopus-radish salad. I found a recipe in Korean website here:
It looks very good. I will try to make it myself and post the recipe here as well. :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Migi,
Thank you, as I can't read Korean!

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