Jukumi Saewoo Bokkeum (Spicy Baby Octopus and Shrimp Stir Fry)

Wanting to utilize new ingredients in my cooking, I picked up fresh seafood items at the nearby outdoor market. The main ingredients purchased were jukumi (baby octopus) and saewoo (shrimp). With limited time to cook and a hungry partner waiting for something delicious, I decided to keep it simple by stir-frying the main ingredients with onions and green onions in a spicy gochujang-based sauce for a quick n easy dinner. For those unfamiliar with Korean cooking, most of the stir fried dishes use similar, if not the same, sauce components which include the base of gochujang (red pepper paste), gochugaru (red pepper flakes), soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, and sugar. From this, you can adjust the flavors by adding or limiting the aforementioned ingredients according to personal preference. This dish was no exception to the rule, but I added a tad more sugar (offsetting the spiciness) and included one of my favorite sauce ingredients—deulkkae garu (perilla seeds powder). Also I threw in some leftover somyeon noodles that helped to balance out this spiciness of the dish. The end result was a thoroughly tasty dish that was a hit with my taste tester and will most likely be part of my weekly meals.

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” ~M.F.K. Fisher


Jukumi (baby octopus) and saewoo (shrimp) bought at the local outdoor market.
Here are the main vegetables in the dish. Not pictured are the sauce ingredients, which can be found in the list down below.
After briefly sauteing the garlic with some olive oil, throw in the baby octopus and shrimp, saute on medium-high heat for approx. 5 minutes.
Most of the shrimp and octopus should start to turn red or pink, 5 minutes.
Throw in the onions and green onions, mix well with the sauce and other ingredients.
Garnish with green pepper slices and plate accordingly.
After rinsing the somyeon noodles under cold water, add to the mix and garnish with black sesame seeds.

Serves: 2 people
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes


  • approx. 1/2 lb. saewoo (shrimp, shell-on)
  • 1 lb. jukumi (baby octopus)
  • 3 tbsp gochujang (red chili pepper paste)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp deulkkae garu (perilla seed powder)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (to garnish)
  • 8 oz. somyeon (thin wheat flour noodles; optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


1. If using frozen shrimp and octopus, make sure to dethaw at regular temperature until soft but yet cold.

2. Using a non-sticky skillet or frying pan, saute the minced garlic on medium-high heat with some olive oil.  When fragrant and slightly browned, add in the shrimp and baby octopus, stir fry 5 minutes.

3. Mix in the sauce ingredients, onions, and green onions. Stir fry for about 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Water can be added if more sauce is desired.

4. Meanwhile, cook the somyeon noodles separately following the directions on the package. Rinse well under cold water, set aside.

5. Plate accordingly on a serving dish and add the somyeon noodles on top of the stir fry. Garnish with sesame seeds and green pepper slices.

 *As with most Korean dishes, make sure to sample the sauce several times throughout the cooking process and adjust according to preference. You can adjust the taste by playing with some of the basic ingredients: spiciness (gochujang or gochugaru), sweetness (sugar), sourness (vinegar), and even nuttiness (sesame oil or deulkkae garu).


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