Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spicy pork belly and baby octopus stirfry


I have been craving Korean food a lot lately. And last weekend, Steve and I watched the movie 'Chef'. The scene where Jon Favreau cooks all kinds of food in the middle of the night, they briefly show baby octopus stirfry - Nakjibokkeum in Korean. Cravings and seeing that scene late at night, I have been suffering. Wanted this dish so so bad.


I know both pork belly and baby octopus are not the most familiar ingredients to most people. In Korea though, they're very commonly used. If you cook them right, they're absolutely delicious. You just need to be careful not to overcook the octopus as it cooks very fast and when overdone, it's very tough. Above picture is how I like to eat this dish. Add a little rice and wrap it with lettuce. Or you can just serve it over rice and smear the spicy goodness on the warm rice. Oh boy..my mouth is watering again.


It's not easy to find certain Korean ingredients such as gochujang and gochugaru at a local supermarket but I think I saw them at wholefoods. In NY, NJ area, there are plenty of Korean supermarkets that are easy to get to, and you can order online too. Or..if you're not sure about buying the whole ingredients when you don't cook Korean food so often, ask a Korean friend for a few spoonful of gochujang! Haha. This is great with ice cold beer and I also like it a lot with Riesling. Pair with what you like or what you can drink, even if it's just sparkling water to cool off the heat. Actually, beer or ice cold water doesn't really help cooling off your burning mouth. It just tastes nice with them. What really works is, milk, honey, sugar, etc. Alcohol does break down capsaicin(the chemical compound that makes chili spicy) but beer has too low of an alcohol content, it doesn't help and capsaicin is oil based, cold water won't help. ANYWAY...Don't be afraid though, it's not THAT spicy. If you can handle a little bit of sriracha, you can handle this!

Spicy pork belly and baby octopus stirfry

Ingredients :

1/2 lbs pork belly, sliced thin and cut to bite-size
1/2 lbs baby octopus, cut into strips
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 medium carrots, sliced thin(optional)
1 cup cabbage, cut into small pieces(optional)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 scallion, chopped
sesame seeds, for garnish

4 Tbsp Korean chili flakes(gochugaru)
2 Tbsp Korean red pepper paste(gochujang)
1 Tbsp cooking wine
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp black pepper

Directions :

1. Mix all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet. Saute the onions and vegetables if using- high heat. 

3. Add pork belly and cook for 3-4 minutes each side. 

4. Add baby octopus and sauce. Stirfry for 3-4 minutes and add half of chopped scallion.

5. Plate on a serving dish and garnish with rest of the chopped scallion and sesame seeds. 

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