International Recipe · Korean Food · Seafood · Side Dish

Korean Stir-fry Octopus Recipe (Nakji Bokkeum)

Korean Stir-fry Octopus Recipe (Nakji Bokkeum)
Spicy stir-fried small octopus. Nakji Bokkeum is a classic Korean banchan (side dish); It is usually prepared with a small-sized octopus (or baby octopus or you can also use webfoot/longhand octopus). It is sliced and then fried in a flavorful combination of garlic, ginger and gochujang chili paste, while other additions include sliced vegetables such as onions, scallions, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, chili peppers, or zucchinis. Choose only your favorite vegetables.
The dish is usually served sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds and goes exceptionally well with hearty Korean soups and stews. So spicy and yummy!

Korean Stir-fry Octopus Recipe (Nakji Bokkeum)


  • 500g Octopus, cleaned & chopped 
  • 2-3 tablespoon salt
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon Gochujang, (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 3 tablespoon Gochugaru, (Korean red pepper powder)
  • 1½ tablespoon Soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon Brown rice syrup, (honey or sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic, (about 5 to 6 garlic cloves)
  • For the Vegetables:
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage 
  • 1 small carrot, julienned,
  • 2 Green onions, sliced diagonally
  • 1 Green chili, (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon Oil
  • Garnish: Roasted Sesame seeds


  1. Season octopus with salt and rub it all over including the suctions until you see small bubbles for about 3 minutes. Rinse off with cold running water until no more salt residue. Drain thoroughly and set it aside.
  2. Make the Sauce: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk it until well combined. Add the octopus and mix it well to marinate. Set aside.
  3. Prepare and cut all the vegetables. Set aside.
  4. Heat a skillet over high heat and add some oil. 
  5. Stir fry onion, ginger, cabbage and carrots for about  2 minutes or until soft. 
  6. Add baby octopus with marinating sauce into the skillet. Scrape all sauce with a spoon from the bowl. Stir fry for 3 minutes or until until baby octopus is tender or perfectly cooked. Be careful not to overcook octopus for more than 3 minutes or it will get rubbery just like an over cooked squid. 
  7. Add and toss in green onion. Turn off heat and transfer into a serving bowl. Garnish with toasted sesame seed. Enjoy!
Note: Best served with steamed rice and mung bean sprouts on the side. Koreans also loves to partner it with noodles or serve as a ban chan for Samgyupsal.