Ojingeo bokkeum is spicy stir fried squid that is best eaten with a fresh bowl of rice. This dish is packed with tons of flavor- it is sweet, savory, & spicy! It also has tender veggies that absorb the delicious sauce.
If you’re ever in Korea (especially Busan), you should definitely dine at a restaurant that specializes in this dish. They always make it SO good, and the entire experience is just amazing. After you finish your squid, they usually make a delicious fried rice with the leftover sauce and veggies. I do the same if I have any leftovers the next day.
Squid- fresh is best, but whole frozen squid is ok too. Try to avoid using the packaged pre-cut frozen squid if you can. Those always taste very fishy to me.
Veggies- garlic, onion, cabbage, carrot, green onion, and Korean chili pepper (or serrano to make it spicier)
Sugar- just plain granulated white sugar
Seasonings- black pepper and msg
Gochujang- Korean red pepper paste
Gochugaru- Korean red pepper flakes
Soy sauce- use Korean soy sauce. Sempio is my favorite soy sauce for cooking.
Oligodang- this is a Korean cooking syrup. You can also use rice or corn syrup.
Sesame oil- I only use the Kadoya brand!
Sesame seeds- mostly for garnish but sesame seeds do add a nice nutty flavor.
The squid for this dish needs to be cooked very quickly! The last thing you want is tough squid. The only way to get tender squid is to either cook it high and fast (3-4 minutes), or low and slow (30 minutes).
This is why I recommend measuring out your ingredients beforehand so that they are ready to go (mise en place). The time will pass very quickly, make sure you don’t overcook the squid!
It’s better to add the seasoning ingredients in separately rather than mixed together
My mom taught me this and I’m going to do my best to explain the reason why (she told me in Korean and I am not 100% fluent).
The salt content in the sauce causes the squid to release water and shrink. When that happens, the sugar cannot stick to the squid and therefore doesn’t really impart much flavor.
This is why it’s important to add the seasoning ingredients in a specific order- sugar first so the squid can absorb the flavors and make it ‘sticky’, then the rest of the seasoning ingredients.
More spicy Korean dishes
Most spicy Korean dishes use a lot of the same ingredients, even though they can taste totally different! If you like ojingeo bokkeum, you might like some of these other spicy dishes:
- Dakdoritang– this spicy chicken stew is one of my favorite Korean comfort foods! So good with rice, especially on a cold day.
- Tteokbokki– these spicy rice cakes are my absolute favorite Korean street food.
- 15-minute Dwaeji Bulgogi– perfect for your next kbbq night at home!
- Galchi Jorim- this is a lesser-known Korean dish made with belt fish and Korean radish. Don’t sleep on this one- it is extremely delicious and different!
- Yangnyeom Gejang– my absolute FAVORITE Korean dish ever! This spicy raw crab recipe is a must try.
Ojingeo Bokkeum 오징어 볶음 – Spicy Stir Fried Squid
- 1 lb whole squid (1 squid)
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- 2 green onions chopped, split
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger minced
- 1/4 onion sliced
- 1/4 cup cabbage sliced
- 1/4 cup carrot sliced
- 1 Korean pepper or serrano for extra spicy
- 1/8 tsp dashida (beef powder) or msg
- 3 tbsp gochugaru
- 2 tbsp spicy gochujang or mild
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp oligodang (sweetening syrup) or corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp msg optional
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- Prepare all your ingredients beforehand. The squid has to cook VERY quickly, so you want to make sure you have everything ready to go.
- Keep a bowl of ice out and cut the body open with scissors.
- Grab the head and detach the innards from the body. Remove the back bone- it will look like a long piece of plastic. Separate the legs from the head, cutting right below the eyes. Put the legs on the ice for now. Throw away the innards.
- Remove the skin from the body. You may need to use paper towels to get a better grip on it.
- Flip the squid over and score the other side in a cross-wise diagonal pattern. This step is optional, it's not needed but looks prettier. After scoring, cut the squid into 3x1 strips and put it on the ice
- Grab the legs and remove the beak in the center. Separate the legs and cut them into 3 inch pieces, then put it back in the ice
- Add 1 tsp of kosher salt to the bowl and massage the squid for 1 minute. Rinse under cold water and drain.
- On low heat, add the oil, the white parts of green onions, garlic, and ginger. Fry for 1-2 minutes
- Add the onion, cabbage, carrot, and Korean pepper. Season with 1/8 tsp dashida or msg and stir fry on medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Make a hole in the center then add the squid and sugar. Stir fry for 1 minute.
- Make a hole in the center again then add the soy sauce, gochugaru, & gochujang. Mix everything together and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add 2 tbsp water, 1/4 tsp msg (optional), 1 tbsp oligodang or whatever sweetening syrup you have, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Stir fry for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Turn off the heat, drizzle over the sesame oil and mix again. Remove from heat.
- Top with remaining green onions and sesame seeds. Serve with rice