The baby octopus in this recipe is perfectly cooked in a gochujang hot sauce. This dish is very spicy, a perfect winter treat for those who like it hot.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 300 g (10½ oz) baby octopus (about 10–12)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), cut into 5-cm (2-in) lengths, plus extra thinly
  • sliced onions, to garnish
  • toasted sesame seeds, to garnish


  • 2 tbsp Korean chilli paste (gochujang)
  • 1 tbsp Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tbsp Korean rice syrup (ssalyeot) or corn syrup, glucose or honey
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time: 10 minutes

  1. To clean the octopus, make a cut between the head and the tentacles. Turn the head inside out and clean out all the innards. For the tentacles, cut them in half then trim off the eyes and the beak. Put them in a bowl, add the salt, then use your hands to rub the octopus for 2–3 minutes to clean the suction cups. Once tiny bubbles form on the suction cups, rinse the octopus under cold water two or three times, then drain and set aside.
  2. To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add the marinade to the octopus and stir until the octopus is well coated. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or wok over medium–high heat. Stir-fry the onion for 2 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the marinated octopus, scraping all the marinade from the bowl into the pan. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes or until the octopus is just cooked through. Add the spring onion, stir-fry for another 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds and extra spring onion and serve immediately with steamed rice.


Recipe and images from Little Korea: Iconic Dishes and Cult Recipes by Billy Law, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99