There are many things I love about being back in Korea, but as a food blogger who enjoys working with different ingredients, one thing stands out most: the seafood. The large chain grocery stores and outdoor markets have provided me all the seafood ingredients that I sorely missed back in the States. To name a few, I particularly like working with octopus, squid, any type of shellfish, shrimp, abalone, and plenty of fish varieties. Needless to say, many of my future posts will be seafood-oriented since my stay in Korea is probably numbered.
On this particular day, I decided to work with a whole squid that, until I got home, didn’t realize it was not degutted (definitely a miscommunication thing between me and the ajumma worker). Instead of dreading the prospect of touching guts and internal organs, I took this as an opportunity to hone my knife-cutting skills. Luckily, the insides were removed with minimal effort and basically came out whole with a few precision cuts. I was told you could pull the head to remove the guts but mine wouldn’t bulge. FYI, most grocers carry squid that have been cleaned and ready to use, which will cut prep time by a considerable amount. Besides prepping the squid, the rest is relatively easy as you just need to stuff it with the mashed potato filling and pan-fry on the stove top. If you’ve read previous posts, we had a 20 lb box of potatoes to use up, so we have been using them in most, if not all, our dishes. Fortunately, they worked perfectly with this recipe and affirmed my belief that potatoes are, in fact, the most simple but yet dynamic ingredient out there.
Like most cooking “experiments,” I learned a few tips that will undoubtedly help me in the future. First, DO NOT boil squid. Boiled squid will result in a very chewy, rubber band-like texture, which is not very tasty unless you like eating rubber. Second, rather than pan-frying the squid on the stove top (not an easy task believe me), cut the squid into rings and individually pan-fry them. This will give the rings a nice combination of flavors and texture. However, if you have access to an oven (which sadly I don’t), I highly recommend you bake the squid to get it cooked evenly. Lastly, do not try to cook multiple recipes at once. As I mentioned earlier, I was working on several dishes using the excess potatoes we had, and consequently, I forgot to remove the extra potatoes after boiling them. The final result? A filling that was a very bland mash despite adding diced tentacles n green onions to the mix. Although it was a simple mistake, it had me scratching my head while asking myself several times, “What the hell are you doing?” Oh, the joys of cooking.
“The worst food you’ll ever eat will probably be prepared by a ‘cook’ who calls himself a ‘chef.’ Mark my words.” ~ Alton Brown
- 1 whole squid (degutted highly recommended)
- 2 potatoes, mashed
- 2 green onions, diced
- 2 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp mayonnaise
- 1 olive or canola oil
- dash of salt and pepper
- Cut off the tentacles from the body of the squid. Chop the tentacles into small pieces and reserve for the filling. Remove the head and internal organs, including the sharp quill, by cutting a slit up the body of the squid. Rinse under cold water and set aside.
- Peel and then boil potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes. Remove to a mixing bowl and add the chopped tentacles and diced green onions. Mix and mash for the filling.
- Stuff the squid with the potato filling and seal ends with wooden picks or sew with noodle and yarn. Do not overfill the squid.
- Add a little bit of olive oil on a non-stick frying pan, heat set at medium. Place the squid on the pan and brush on the sauce, slowly turning every few minutes to cook through. Repeat several times until squid becomes slightly charred, about 10 minutes total. (If you have an oven, the whole squid can be baked at 350 degrees F for 15~20 minutes while applying the sauce every 5 minutes)