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Nakji Jeongol (낙지전골) is a Korean octopus stew that deserves a little bit of primer, because the world of Korean soups and stews could be fairly intimidating. In Korea, most meals are accompanied with some type of soup, categorized into two essential classes: soups like guk or tang, and stews like jjigae or jeongol.

Soups are usually skinny, easy, and simmered for prolonged durations. Normally, guk are meatless, and just a little watery; final 12 months I posted a recipe for the favored Gul Guk (Oyster Soup). Tang are, you guess it, made with meat (a favourite of mine, Gamjatang, is made with pork neck and potatoes – it seems in my first cookbook, The Ancestral Desk).

Stews are extra ornate, adorned with recent greens, and served in giant, family-style dishes. Jjigae are usually made with a single defining ingredient; Kimchi Jjigae and Sundubu Jjigae, the latter made with curdled tofu, are the most well-liked. Jeongol include a wide range of elements, and are just a little extra elaborate; traditionally, jeongol had been served for members of the royal courtroom, whereas jjigae had been for commoners.

At the moment’s Nakji Jeongol has a good quantity of add-ins, however the primary recipe may be very easy: marinate the octopus, put together the soup base, throw all of it collectively. There is no such thing as a single set of add-ins, so be at liberty to throw in no matter you might have accessible to you (for instance, I used cilantro as a result of the extra conventional herb, perilla, is difficult to seek out the place I dwell). Frozen packages of pre-cleaned octopus could be present in most Asian markets, or you may get some recent (and certain cleaned, however right here’s a fast video if wanted) out of your native fishmonger.

One pretty unusual ingredient within the soup base is doenjang, which is the Korean model of miso paste; in the event you’re not capable of finding it regionally, it’s offered on-line, or pink miso paste will work in a pinch. In the event you’re curious as to my ideas on fermented soy, right here is one thing I wrote earlier this 12 months (spoiler alert: I feel fermented soy is okay).

Nakji Jeongol – Korean Octopus Stew (Gluten-free, Excellent Well being Food regimen)

Octopus marinade:
1 lb child octopus, cleaned
1 tsp tamari (or coconut aminos)
1 tsp sesame oil
four cloves garlic, minced

Soup base:
three cups rooster or fish broth
three cups water
1/four cup mirin
1 tbsp Korean pink pepper powder, extra to style
1 tbsp doenjang (or pink miso paste)
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt, extra to style

sliced zucchini
sliced carrot
mushrooms (white, enoki, and/or shiitake)
inexperienced onions
bean sprouts
recent herbs (perilla leaves or cilantro)
sesame seeds to garnish

1. In a bowl, mix the octopus, tamari, sesame oil, and garlic; put aside. In a pot, add the broth, water, mirin, pink pepper powder, doenjang, and white pepper; whisk to mix, then convey to a simmer over medium warmth. Add the salt and style, including extra salt if wanted.

2. Add the octopus (and its marinade), kimchi, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, and inexperienced onions to the stew, then simmer till the octopus’ tentacles begin to curl, about 1 minute. Take away from warmth and add the remaining elements to style, then serve.