How to Make Nakji Bokkeum - Spicy Stir-Fried Small Octopus and Everything you Need to Know about Nakji

Nakji Bokkeum is my ultimate favorite dish in Korean cuisine. It creates a perfect harmony out of the two things I love, seafood and spiciness. You have to try it! You can use the same recipe for squid, octopus (larger), baby octopus (jookoomi in Korean) and shrimp.


For preparing the nakji (octopus)
Octopus 2 Small (Nakji)
Salt 1 Tablespoon (Salt rub and salt is washed away)
Flour 2 Tablespoon (Optional)
For the seasoning
Red chili pepper flakes 2 Tablespoon (Gochugaru)
Minced garlic 2 Tablespoon
Sugar 1 Tablespoon
Malt/Sugar 1/2 tablespoon
Soup soy sauce/Salt to taste
Shrimp fish sauce/Anchovy fish sauce 1 Tablespoon (Sae Woo Jeot)
Sesame oil 1 Tablespoon
Black pepper 1/2 Teaspoon
Rice wine 1 Tablespoon (Optional)
Rest of the ingredients for the nakji bokkeum
Vegetable oil 1 Tablespoon
Carrot 1 Large , sliced (Korean Carrot) (Optional)
Onion 1 Medium , sliced
Green onion stalks 5 Medium , cut into 1
Green chili pepper 6 Medium , sliced
For the garnish
Sesame seeds 1 Teaspoon , ground (Optional)



1. If using frozen nakji, soak in cold salted water until thawed. (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)

2. In a bowl, place nakji without water and salt (coarse salt is better) and flour (optional). Clean the nakji by massaging it for a few minutes.

3. Wash thoroughly in cold water twice.

4. Using a knife or scissors, cut open the head starting from the bottom opening of the head. Remove all inner organs and eyes, as shown in the video.

5. Rinse again in cold running water twice and drain the water completely. Cut nakji into bite size pieces and set aside.

To prepare the seasoning:

6. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the seasoning, mix well and set aside.


7. Grease a pan with vegetable oil and preheat over high heat for 30 seconds. Sauté Nakji for 1 minute or until its color starts to turn purply brown.

8. Transfer into a big bowl (along with the juice).

9. Add a little more vegetable oil in the pan and sauté carrots (if using) for 1 minute over high heat.

10. Add onions and cook for another minute. Add green onions and green chili peppers and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes.

11. Add nakji and its juice back into the pan. Add seasoning and cook for another 3 minutes on high heat. (Taste and add some salt if necessary).


12. Garnish with sprinkles of ground sesame seeds and serve with a soup of your choice.


You may pre-cook glass noodles and add in the end, if desired.

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: Medium
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 10 Minutes
Servings: 4

Nutrition Facts

Serving size

Calories 613Calories from Fat 133

 % Daily Value*

Total Fat 15 g23.1%

Saturated Fat 2 g10%

Trans Fat 0 g


Sodium 1680 mg70%

Total Carbohydrates 37 g12.3%

Dietary Fiber 5 g20%

Sugars 9 g

Protein 78 g156%

Vitamin A % Vitamin C %

Calcium % Iron %

*Based on a 2000 Calorie diet