Bibimbap Recipe 5 - Spicy Nakji (Small Octopus) Bibimbap
Nakji bbokeum (spicy small octopus stir-fry) is amazing in itself. But, when it’s combined with fresh greens and rice, it’s celestial.
You can use the same recipe with squid, octopus (larger), baby octopus (jookoomi in Korean) and shrimp and add your favorite sprouts and greens. See tips below for ingredient variations.
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for nakji bokkeum
|2||Nakji, Small Octopus 낙지|
|1||Onion (Medium) 양파|
|5 oz||Carrot (large Korean carrot) 당근 (optional)|
|6||Green Chili Pepper 풋고추 (or red chili pepper or regular green peppers)|
|2 tbs||Garlic (minced) 다진 마늘|
|2 tbs||Gochugaru, Korean Hot Pepper Flakes 고추가루|
|1 tbs||Sesame Oil 참기름|
|1 tbs||Sugar 설탕|
|1 tbs||Soy Sauce for Soup (Gukganjang) 국간장 (or use salt to season)|
|½ tsp||Black Pepper 후추|
|1 tsp||Sesame Seeds 깨 (optional)|
|1 tbs||Shrimp Fish Sauce (Sae Woo Jeot) 새우젓 (or anchovy fish sauce)|
|1 tbs||Mul Yeot / Malt (Maltose) Syrup 물엿 (optional, add more sugar)|
for other toppings
|½ oz||Radish Sprout 무순 (or other green sprouts)|
|½ oz||Perilla Leaf, Kaet-nip 깻잎 (about 4 leaves, optional)|
|½ oz||Buchu, Garlic Chive 부추 (optional)|
|3 leaves||Red Leaf Lettuce 상추 (or other salad greens)|
|½ sheet||Seaweed (Gim, Laver) 김 (optional)|
Optional Ingredients & Susbstitutions
Mul Yeot: If you don't have it, add 1/2 tbs of ADDITIONAL sugar instead.
Shrimp fish sauce (sae woo jeot): it's a really nice touch but you can get away without it. But, if you don't use it, make sure you season it with salt. You can also substitute shrimp fish sauce with anchovy fish sauce or kanari fish sauce, OR use a combination of these.
Soy sauce for soup (gook-gan-jang): If you don't have it, season with salt.
Sesame seeds: you can omit this if you have sesame oil.
Carrot: you can omit it.
Green chili pepper: It gives a very nice spicy kick however, you can use red chili pepper which is usually less spicy. If you really want to tone it down, use regular red pepper or green pepper.
Sprouts and greens: Although greens such as perilla leaves and garlic chives do add very unique taste and aroma, you don’t have to use all the greens in the ingredient list. You can simply use leaf lettuce and other sprouts.
Good to know
To make the nakji not too chewy, the key is to stir-fry them quickly and add them back later.
This dish is best with these simple vegetables. While adding other vegetables is fine, it may overpower the flavor of the nakji.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use any other seafoods?
Yes, you can use the recipe for squid, octopus, baby octopus, shrimp, etc. Although it will still be good, remember that it will taste different than when using just nakji.
Can I use gochujang (korean red chili paste) instead of gochugaru (korean red chili flakes?
Some recipes call for gochujang (red chili paste) but in my opinion it's much better to make it with just gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes). It will give a cleaner taste and bring out the flavor of nakji much better.
My nakgi bokkeum (octopus stir-fry) turned out too watery and bland. What's wrong?
-If you use frozen nakji without thawing or if you don't drain water completely after washing nakji, the water will come out as you cook and it will ruin your dish. Also, if you cook on low heat OR stop in the middle of cooking and resume, this can happen to. So, cook on high heat just before eating.
-If you are cooking a large amount of nakji in one pan, it can get watery. For best results, don't cook more than 3 nakji in one pan especially if you don't have a gas stove.
-If you have too many vegetables, it may become watery and bland.
More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comment section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.
1. Prepare radish sprouts
Cut of roots of the radish sprouts. Wash thoroughly and drain completely in a strainer.
Cut off roots of
10g radish sprouts
2. Prepare greens
Thoroughly wash 3 leaves of red leaf lettuce, 4 leaves of perilla leaves and 10 g of garlic chives under running water. Drain completely in a strainer or pat-dry with clean towel.
Drain or pat-dry
3. Cut greens
Fold red leaf lettuce and perilla leaves lengthwise and cut into strips. Cut off the white part white part of garlic chives and cut into bite sized pieces.
Cut into strips
Cut garlic chives
4. Cut seaweed
Cut roasted seaweed (“gim” in Korean) into thin 2 inch long strips. You can use either salted or unsalted roasted seaweed.
6. Prepare nakji
Soak nakji in cold salted water if it’s frozen until it’s thawed. It may take a few hours if it’s really frozen. If you are really in a hurry you can use warm water or defrost in microwave, but be careful that it doesn’t start getting cooked.
Thaw in cold salted water
In a bowl, place nakji without water and 1 tablespoon of salt (coarse salt is better) and 2 tablespoons of flour (optional). Clean the nakji by massaging it for a few minutes.
Clean nakji with
Wash thoroughly in cold water twice.
Using a knife or scissors, cut open the head starting from the bottom opening of the head.
Cut open head
10. Remove organs
Remove all inner organs.
11. Remove eyes
Remove eyes using scissors.
Remove the round black ball under the arms using scissors.
Rinse in cold running water twice and drain the water completely.
Cut nakji into bite sizes.
Cut into bite size
15. Prepare vegetables
Peel, wash and slice vegetables. Mince garlic.
Peel, wash, slice vegetables
16. Make seasoning
Make seasoning with 2 tablespoons of gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes. *Use 3 tablespoons if you like really spicy food.), 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of mulyut (Korean malt syrup - OPTIONAL), 1 tablespoon of shrimp fish sauce (OPTIONAL), 1 tablespoon of soy sauce for soup (OPTIONAL), 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, a pinch of black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of minced garlic.
17. Sauté Nakji
Coat a pan with vegetable oil and preheat on high heat for 30 seconds. Sauté Nakji on high heat for 1 min or until its color starts to turn purply brown. Transfer into a big bowl. Remember to save the juice too!
Preheat a pan
High Heat 1 min
Transfer nakji & juice
18. Sauté vegetables
Sauté carrots for 1 min on high heat. Add onions and cook for another minute. Add green onions and green chili peppers and cook for another 3-5 min.
Add green onions & green chili peppers
19. Add nakji and seasoning
Add Nakji and its juice back into the pan. Add seasoning and cook for another 3 min on high heat. If you used fish sauce and soy sauce, most likely you won’t need additional salt. But, it may vary depending on the amount of vegetables and the size of nakji. So taste it and add some salt if necessary. Sea salt always tastes better than table salt as long as it can be evenly dissolved into the dish.
High Heat 3 min
20. Heat stone bowls (optional)
Coat 4 stone bowls with vegetable oil or sesame oil and place a bed of rice (short grain rice/sticky rice) at the bottom of stone bowls and leave them on LOW heat for 15-20 min (or until golden brown crust is formed at the bottom). This is optional. You can just place rice without heating it up. You can use a brass bowl or any other large bowl if you like.
Coat stone bowl with oil
Place a bed of rice
Low Heat 15 min
(golden brown crust)
21. Top with ingredients
Top with all ingredients. If you prefer all ingredients to be hot, add everything when you preheat the stone bowl and rice (in the previous step). You don’t have to completely fill up the bowl. Bibimbap bowls are big so people can mix the content without making a mess. If you are a small eater, use a smaller amount of rice.
Top with ingredients
22. Serve and enjoy
Serve and enjoy!