32. Stir-fried Octopus (Nakjibokkeum) with Somen Recipe

Stir-fried Octopus (Nakjibokkeum): A Culinary Adventure


Stir-fried dishes have been an integral part of Asian cuisine for centuries. Among the myriad of ingredients that have graced the woks and pans, the octopus stands out for its unique texture and flavor. Today, we delve deep into the art of preparing Stir-fried Octopus, popularly known as ‘nakjibokkeum’ in Korean cuisine. This delightful dish, often accompanied by an array of vegetables and spices, is a testament to the culinary prowess of traditional Korean cooking. Let’s embark on this gastronomic journey and uncover the secrets behind this delectable delicacy.


1. Origins of Stir-fried Octopus

Stir-fried Octopus, or nakjibokkeum, traces its roots back to the coastal regions of Korea, where fresh octopuses were abundant. The dish emerged as a way to make the most of this seafood bounty, combining it with local spices and flavors to create a harmonious blend.

2. The Intricate Preparation Process

Preparing Stir-fried Octopus is no simple task. It begins with selecting fresh octopuses, ensuring they are cleaned and tenderized properly. The octopus is then marinated in a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and other seasonings to infuse it with flavor.

3. Stir-fried Octopus (Nakjibokkeum) with Somen Recipe

Combining the rich flavors of Stir-fried Octopus (Nakjibokkeum) with the delicate texture of somen noodles creates a culinary experience that is both comforting and satisfying. This recipe brings together the best of both worlds, offering a harmonious blend of seafood, vegetables, and noodles. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating this delightful dish that’s sure to impress your taste buds.



500g fresh octopus, cleaned and sliced
200g somen noodles
1 cup assorted mushrooms (shiitake, enoki, or oyster), sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 green onions, chopped (for garnish)
Sesame seeds (for garnish)
Cooking oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Preparation of Octopus:
Start by cleaning the fresh octopus thoroughly. Remove the beak and internal organs, then slice it into bite-sized pieces. Tenderize the octopus by lightly pounding it with a meat mallet or the back of a knife. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside.

Cooking Somen Noodles:

In a pot of boiling water, cook the somen noodles according to the package instructions or until al dente. Once cooked, drain and rinse the noodles under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drizzle a little sesame oil to prevent them from sticking together. Set aside.

Stir-frying Vegetables:
In a large pan or wok, heat some cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the sliced onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms to the pan. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly softened.

Adding Octopus:
Push the vegetables to one side of the pan and add the sliced octopus pieces. Stir-fry the octopus for 3-4 minutes or until they start to curl and turn opaque.

Seasoning the Dish:
In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru, and sugar to create a sauce. Pour the sauce over the octopus and vegetables in the pan. Toss everything together to ensure the octopus and vegetables are well coated with the sauce. Stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Combining with Somen:
Add the cooked somen noodles to the pan, tossing them with the octopus and vegetables. Stir-fry for an additional 1-2 minutes, ensuring the noodles are well combined with the sauce and heated through.

Garnish and Serve:
Transfer the Stir-fried Octopus with Somen to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds for added flavor and presentation. Serve hot and enjoy!


Stir-fried Octopus (Nakjibokkeum) with Somen offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, making it a standout dish for any occasion. Whether you’re a seafood lover or simply looking to explore new culinary adventures, this recipe is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Enjoy the rich flavors of the sea, paired perfectly with the delicate somen noodles, in this exquisite dish that celebrates Korean cuisine at its finest

4. Nutritional Value of Stir-fried Octopus

Octopus is not just flavorful but also packed with nutrients. It’s a rich source of protein, low in fat, and contains essential vitamins and minerals. When stir-fried with vegetables and mushrooms, it becomes a wholesome dish that’s both delicious and nutritious.

5. Variations Across Regions

While the basic recipe for Stir-fried Octopus remains consistent, there are regional variations that add a unique twist. Some regions use spicier marinades, while others incorporate local ingredients like wild mushrooms to give the dish a distinctive flavor profile.

6. Serving Suggestions and Pairings


Stir-fried Octopus is often served as a main dish, accompanied by steamed rice and various side dishes. Its robust flavors pair well with light and refreshing beverages like Korean rice wine or green tea. Additionally, a side of pickled vegetables or kimchi can enhance the overall dining experience.

7. Culinary Techniques Involved

Mastering the art of Stir-fried Octopus requires a blend of traditional cooking techniques and modern culinary practices. The octopus needs to be cooked just right—tender yet firm—to ensure the dish retains its authentic taste and texture.

8. Popular in Festive Occasions

In Korea, Stir-fried Octopus holds a special place during festive occasions and family gatherings. Its rich flavors and celebratory nature make it a centerpiece dish that brings people together, fostering warmth and camaraderie.

9. Health Benefits and Considerations

Beyond its exquisite taste, Stir-fried Octopus offers several health benefits. It’s a lean source of protein, making it an excellent choice for those looking to maintain a balanced diet. However, individuals with seafood allergies or specific dietary restrictions should exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before indulging.

10. Sustainability and Ethical Considerations

As with any seafood dish, sourcing sustainable octopus is crucial to preserving marine ecosystems. Responsible fishing practices and supporting local fisheries can ensure that Stir-fried Octopus remains an integral part of culinary traditions for generations to come.


Stir-fried Octopus, or nakjibokkeum, is more than just a dish; it’s a reflection of Korean culinary heritage and the art of blending flavors and textures. From its humble origins to its modern interpretations, this dish continues to captivate food enthusiasts worldwide. Whether enjoyed at a festive gathering or a cozy dinner at home, Stir-fried Octopus is a testament to the timeless appeal of traditional Korean cuisine.


What is Stir-fried Octopus?
Stir-fried Octopus, or nakjibokkeum, is a Korean dish made by stir-frying octopus with various seasonings and vegetables.

Is Stir-fried Octopus spicy?
The spiciness of Stir-fried Octopus can vary based on the recipe. Some versions may be spicier than others.

What are the key ingredients in Stir-fried Octopus?
The key ingredients include octopus, mushrooms, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and various vegetables.

Can I make Stir-fried Octopus at home?
Yes, Stir-fried Octopus can be made at home using fresh octopus and following a traditional recipe.

What are the nutritional benefits of Stir-fried Octopus?
Stir-fried Octopus is a rich source of protein, low in fat, and contains essential vitamins and minerals.

How is Stir-fried Octopus served?
Stir-fried Octopus is often served as a main dish with steamed rice and side dishes.

Are there any variations of Stir-fried Octopus?
Yes, there are regional variations of Stir-fried Octopus that incorporate local ingredients and flavors.

Is Stir-fried Octopus suitable for special occasions?
Yes, Stir-fried Octopus is often served during festive occasions and family gatherings in Korea.

Are there any health considerations when consuming Stir-fried Octopus?
Individuals with seafood allergies or dietary restrictions should consult with a healthcare professional before consuming Stir-fried Octopus.

How can I ensure sustainable sourcing of octopus for Stir-fried Octopus?
Supporting local fisheries and choosing sustainably sourced octopus can help ensure the dish’s sustainability.

Today’s Quiz

Question: What is the traditional Korean name for Stir-fried Octopus?

Answer: The traditional Korean name for Stir-fried Octopus is ‘nakjibokkeum’.


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