Trip to Korea – Chilli Octopus

Trip to Korea – Chilli Octopus

As soon as I booked my ticket to Korea yesterday, I put together a list of Korean food I have been craving and emailed  my girlfriend in Korea to do some research. Yes, finally I am going to Korea again!!!

My food wishlist went like this:

  1. BBQ Chilli Octopus (Nak ji bok eum – 낙지볶음)
  2. Cold noodle (Neng myun – 냉면)
  3. Black bean noodle (Jja jang myn – 짜장면)
  4. Chilli rice cake (dduk bok yi – 떡뽁이)
  5. Braised Chicken (Jjim dak – 찜닭)
  6. BBQ chilli Pork (돼지 불고기)
  7. Handmade noodle (Kal guk su – 칼국수)
  8. Potatoes stew (gam ja ttang – 감자탕)

My craving was so bad, I decided to make Chilli octopus. I am salivating again just watching this photo, it must be the chilli…

 

 

Since it’s impossible to get live Octopus in Singapore, I bought frozen ones from a Korean store. They were actually not bad. Usually if you get poor quality ones, the octopus will be as tough as rubber.

 

Ingredients: 1/2 kg Octopus chopped  into 4cm length, 1/2 onion, 1/2 green & 1/2 red capsicums, a handful of white cabbage thinly sliced, 1/2 zucchini, some spring onion, 1 tsp vegetable oil

Sauce: 2 tbsp Korean chilli sauce (go chu jang), 2 tbsp Korean chilli powder, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tsp minced ginger, some sesame oil and sesame seeds

 

  • I mixed the sauce first(without the sesame oil and seeds) and set it aside while I was preparing the vegetables. Very spicy!!

 

 

 

 

  • To make sure you don’t over cook the octopus, I added some vegetable oil in the pan and cooked the vegetable first. Then I mixed in the octopus and the sauce with the vegetables and cooked it a few more minutes. It’s amazingly a quick dish.

 

 

  • I can’t believe how red it looks….

  • There are many ways of serving Chilli Octopus but tonight will be Chilli Octopus on rice for dinner.  Some sesame seeds on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Korean restaurants, Chilli Octopus is commonly served on a hot plate. They will cook the octopus in chilli sauce for you first. As you eat the octopus, they add rice or noodles with more chilli sauce for you to eat. Every time I go to Seoul, this dish is the first thing I must have. One of my best friend in Korea couldn’t eat this dish as she had allergies to Octopus but somehow her allergy is gone! So, we are off to Myung dong(명동) as soon as I arrive, where there is a street full of Chilli Octopus restaurants. Yum Yum!!

So, it’s been a while since I visited Korea. I am leaving next Monday for a week to catch up with some friends and family, lots of shopping(mainly food), stock up some Korean ingredients and eat until I drop. I promise to take lots and lots of photos of food and cool people in Seoul. Count down! 🙂

My first sponsorship!

My first sponsorship!

A month ago, I visited Dubai for my best friend’s birthday.  During the party, I was introduced to her friend who works in a Kitchenware company. When I returned to Singapore, he introduced me to his Singapore office. I wasn’t sure which company I was being introduced to.  Well, guess where he works? Luminarc!!!

I was invited to their  showroom to check out the range of products and they decided to provide a range of kitchenware for my classes. I was over the moon! One of the products I was given, which I was very intrigued by, was their new casserole range.

To test drive them, I decided to cook Seafood silken tofu jji ge(해물 순두부 찌께). I knew I could put casserole dish in the oven but on the stove?  The casserole is made of vitro-ceramic and Luminarc claims that they cook just as good as pots made of stainless steel, cast iron or cast aluminum. Well, I will be the judge of that. 🙂

I must say it’s more appealing to the eyes using a pretty casserole dish than boring black stainless steel especially when you are taking photos for your blog.

How to cook Seafood silken tofu jji ge:

Ingredients

2 bags of silken tofu, different types of seafood (prawns, squid, clams), 1 tbsp minced garlic, 3 tbsp of chilli powder, 1 tsp of salt, 3 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 spring onions, 1 egg, 3 cups of seafood stock (boil prawn heads and shells in water to make the stock)

In a pot, add 3 spoonfuls of vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons of Korean chilli powder. Cook on a low heat to make chilli oil. Be careful not to burn the chilli oil – if you do, your soup will be bitter and you are better off starting a new batch. I made the chilli oil before when I cooked seafood jjambong. So for those who wanted to see the photos of chilli oil, here you go!

Once you make the chilli oil, add the stock and clams and let it boil for a while.


Add the silken tofu and salt to season.

Finally, add the rest of the seafood and spring onions and cook for a few more minutes. When it is boiling furiously, you crack in an egg and serve straight away.

I made enough to serve an army! It was not too spicy and the soup had a good seafood flavour. I served it with steaming hot rice. I also made acorn jelly salad (도토리 묵) which was plated on a Luminarc dinner plate, adding extra colour to my salad.

So what’s the verdict on the casserole dish? I boiled the soup for over 40mintues and it didn’t get too hot to handle. The soup was just as good as cooking in a stainless steel pot. The biggest advantage of using this for me was that I didn’t have to plate the soup in another bowl.  I just took the casserole dish straight out to the table to serve. This made for less washing up afterwards! I might try cooking ginseng chicken next time to see how it handles being on the stove for 2 hours! Watch this space!  😉

My favourite kimchi – chong gak kimchi!

My favourite kimchi – chong gak kimchi!

On my recent trip to Sydney, I picked up a bag of chong gak kimchi. I don’t like buying kimchi in Singapore since my last purchase (it was covered in fungus – see my previous post on this) so I  buy it now either from Korea or Sydney. A well known brand in Sydney is called “Paldo” and it tastes just like the homemade type.

I tried to do some research to find out why this particular kimchi is called chong gak kimchi but didn’t get very far. The direct translation is “bachelor kimchi”. Perhaps, it’s ideal for bachelors to have it as a side dish on those lonely nights at home? 🙂  It can also be referred to as  열무 김치 or young raddish kimchi.

Anyway, I am waiting for my chong gak kimchi to become sour so I can make neng myun (cold noodles-냉면). This type of kimchi is perfect for neng myun and neng myun is perfect for the hot weather in Singapore. In Korea, neng myun sells like hot cakes in summer.

Unfortunately, I have not seen this chong gak kimchi anywhere in Singapore so I am going to have to ration this lot very carefully to make it last for next few weeks! 🙂