Jjukkumi Tang (쭈구미 탕)
Updated: Aug 20, 2020
Baby octopus and beansprout soup
My kids are outside playing in the sprinkler on our first summery day, so I'm going to keep this short.
We've been going hard on heavy Korean food (i.e. tteokbukki nachos) so I went light tonight.
Jjukkumi is Korean for baby octopus - well more accurately, a type of small octopus. It's deliciously tender and more flavorful than large octopus. Usually, you'll find jjukkumi braised in a spicy sauce that you would eat with rice (or maybe noodles). That version is awesome, but this is just as good and a refreshing break from spicy food. Plus, it's loaded with veggies so it's downright healthy. If you're familiar, it has a taste similar to Korean beansprout soup.
The base is a typical Korean seafood broth using anchovies, kelp, fish sauce and soy sauce. Then, I packed the simmered broth with loads of veggies and king oyster mushrooms. Finally, as a last step, I threw in the prepped octopus to cook for a mere two minutes, and capped it off with a pound of beansprouts before removing from heat and serving.
I will say that this recipe is not for the faint of heart. If you've ever cleaned an octopus, you know. It's a pain, and kind of gross. Buying frozen, already cleaned is easier, but where's the fun in that!? Trust me though - this is totally worth it if you want refreshing and healthy seafood dish.
INGREDIENTS (for 5 servings)
10 cups of water
1/4 cup soup soy sauce (guk ganjang)
1/4 fish sauce
1 large onion
6-8 large anchovies
2 5x5 dashima squares (kelp)
2 king oyster mushrooms
2 tablespoon garlic
2 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon ginger
16 baby octopi
~1 lb of bean sprouts
1) Boil water and add dashima squares, 1/4 onion, and anchovies (I remove the heads).
2) Let the broth boil over medium heat for at least 5 minutes and then remove the kelp (dashima) and anchovies. Leave the onion.
3) Add fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and remaining onion (chopped), stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.
4) While the broth simmers, slice a cucumber and zucchini into disks, and shred the carrots. Slice the oyster mushroom into thin strips
5) Prep the octopus (this can be done at anytime, but I did it while the broth was simmering). If you use whole octopi, watch a video on cleaning. Otherwise, put the octopi in a bowl of water and agitate with your hand. You should see lots of bubbles and some murky water.
6) Add prepared octopus, to boiling broth. They only need about 2 minutes to cook, but since these are more tender, the cooking time is a little more forgiving than large octopus.
7) Add the beansprouts right after you add the little cephalopods and remove from heat when the octopus turns white.
8) Serve with a bowl of rice - You can add a spoonful of gochujang sauce if you want it spicy (not straight gochujang!)