Thursday, July 26, 2018

Ojingeo Bokkeum (Korean Spicy Stir Fried Squid)

It has been a few weeks since I completed my personal culinary challenge to cook a main course based upon South Korean cuisine.  That was part of my Around the World in 80 Dishes challenge.  I focused my cooking on seafood as part of South Korean cuisine, with a grilled squid recipe, followed by a fresh oyster recipe and the main course of grilled fish.  The seafood dishes were very delicious.  

I was particularly intrigued with the use of the South Korean ground chiles (Gochugaru) and South Korean chile paste (Gochujang).  As someone who loves chiles and the heat, it seems only natural that I would be drawn to South Korean cuisine.  I recognize that not every South Korean dish is spicy, but there appears to be a fair share of dishes that utilize chiles for a good kick.  Those are the dishes that I want to explore. 

So, when I wanted to find another South Korean dish to make, I just chose a protein -- in this case, squid -- and searched "spicy South Korean squid."  I eventually found this dish, Ojungeo Bokkeum or Korean Spicy Stir Fried Squid.  This dish is similar to Olingeo Gui or spicy grilled squid. Rather than grilling the squid, one uses a wok to quickly fry the squid in the spicy marinade.  

I made a couple of adjustments from the recipe that I found.  First, I decided to keep the one inch strips of squid intact, because I felt that the rolling up of the squid during the cooking process would "create" small tubular versions of the squid.  Second, I sliced the onion thinner than what was called for in the recipe. I wanted the dish to focus more on the squid than the onion.  Two inch strips of scallions (which was what was called for in the original recipe) did not seem right.  I thinly sliced the scallions and sauteed them up in the manner called for in the recipe. In so doing, the scallions still figured into to the flavor of the dish, but the thinly sliced scallions allowed for the squid to be front and center in the dish. 

In the end, there is one thing that I can say with absolute certainty ... I want to use Gochargaru and Gochujang in every dish.

Recipe adapted from from Kimchi Mom
Serves 4

1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 pound squid, cleaned
2 tablespoons cooking oil
5 scallions, sliced thinly
1 green chile pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 stalk of a scallion, thinly sliced (optional, for garnish)

1.  Prepare the sauce.  In a medium sized bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger, Gochargaru, soy sauce and Gochujang.  

2.  Prepare the squid.  Rinse the squid.  Cut the bodies lengthwise along the ridge.  Flatten it out so that the interior wall of the body is face up on the cutting board.  Scrape off the interior.  Lightly score a diamond pattern on the squid.  To do this, first score a set of parallel lines (about 1/2 inch apart).  Score a second set of lines crosswise at about 30 degrees to the first set of line. Cut the squid length wise in 1 inch strips.  Repeat until all of the squid is cut.  

3.  Marinade the squid.  Add the cut squid bodies and tentacles to the sauce and toss to ensure that all of the pieces are evenly coated.  Let it rest for about 20 minutes.  

4.  Cook the dish.  Heat the cooking oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the green onions and pepper and saute until the onions start to wilt.  Add the marinated squid and cook until done, about 1 1/2 minutes or 2 minutes.  The squid will turn opaque and curl up, and the diamond pattern will be more apparent.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.  Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. 


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