Another day means another chance to eat well, and this time we’re doing spicy. My partner and I haven’t had anything spicy of late (specifically the sweat-inducing kind), so I decided to make one of my favorite stir fried dishes: ojingeo bokkeum (aka spicy stir fried squid). This is a great dish combining squid and a few simple vegetables in a flavorful, sweet n spicy red pepper sauce. Even better, this recipe is fairly easy to make and not at all time-consuming, although a little spicy for those unaccustomed to Korean food. With the added chili peppers and base sauce ingredients of gochujang and gochugaru (red pepper paste and flakes, respectively), you will most likely need a few cups of water (or milk) at your disposal. Unlike my last attempt at making this dish a few years ago in the States, it was much easier and cheaper this time around with the availability of fresh, inexpensive squid and other local ingredients. From what I remember, I paid twice as much for a single piece of frozen squid that ultimately tasted like rubber and barely edible. Fortunately, I had no problem this time as I had cleaned and degutted squid all ready to go, leaving me the easy task of slicing them into bite-size pieces.
If you happen to get your hands on a fresh one that hasn’t been degutted, cleaning instructions are much easier than you think. Simply grab the body in one hand and the head and tentacles in the other, then pull apart with a quick jerk. The head and innards should easily come out from the cavity. Cut off tentacles and discard head and innards. Sounds fun, no? One of the joys of home cooking! ^^
“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” ~ Anna Thomas
- 1 squid, medium size
- 1 cup oyster mushrooms
- ½ medium onion
- 1 green and red chili pepper
- 2 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
- 1 tbsp gochugaru (red pepper flakes)
- 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp deulkkae garu (perilla seeds powder; optional)
- dash salt and black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Wash squid thoroughly under cold water. Lightly score the flesh in a cross-section pattern. Then cut the squid into approx. 2-inch bite size pieces. Do the same with the tentacles.
- Cut the vegetables into similar sized pieces as the squid, set aside.
- Optional step: After combining the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl, add in the squid and vegetables and coat thoroughly with sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for about an hour in the refrigerator.
- In a non-stick pan, add some olive oil over high heat. Stir fry the vegetables for a few minutes or until slightly wilted. Then add the squid and sauce, stir fry another few minutes. Squid will cook rather quickly. Adding extra water is optional if you like extra sauce.
- Serve hot with rice and enjoy!
Note to readers: All recipes, or more specifically seasoning and spice measurements, contained in MYKOREANEATS are approximations. Growing up in an old-school Korean kitchen where everything was measured by hand, there was a strict but important rule called “son-maat” (손맛), literally meaning “taste from one’s hand.” My mom would swear by this and always cooked all the dishes using her raw cooking instincts to provide comfort food at its finest. This concept of “son-maat” is pretty important in Korean cooking, so I’ve always wanted to keep that tradition alive even with the blog. Another aspect that I love about “son-maat” is the idea of putting one’s signature or stamp on a dish. What makes your food taste like yours, not like anyone else’s, is literally and figuratively the “taste of one’s hands.” As a side note, most Korean dishes like stews, stir fries, and banchan (side dishes) are cooked to taste, meaning that the addition of extra spices is, more often than not, added during the cooking process itself. In that sense, don’t fuss and worry about exact measurements, but rather focus on developing your own “son-maat.”