This spicy grilled squid is a favorite in Korean bars, and if you’ve ever been to one, you couldn’t have missed it. A huge grilled squid covered in shiny, juicy, spicy sauce in the middle of a table full of drinkers. It’s not a dish you eat alone, you share it with friends, the more the merrier, usually with makgeolli or soju.
But it’s not just for bars and booze, if you and your family like squid and spicy food, it makes for a great side dish with rice at dinner. But whether it’s in a bar or at home, it’s best presented to the table still sizzling, and then cutting the rings with scissors just before eating. Watching that performance will stimulate anyone’s appetite!
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 large squid (about 1½ pounds)
2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon minced ginger
3 tablespoons hot pepper paste (gochujang)
3 tablespoons rice syrup or corn syrup
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 green onions, chopped
salt for cleaning the squid
Clean the squid:
First you’ll need to separate the head & tentacles from the body. Push something blunt like the handle of a spoon into the body above the innards to disconnect them. Be firm but careful not to burst the innards or break open the sac of ink, although you shouldn’t be worried if some leaks out. Once you’ve pried the innards free of the body pull them out. Gently scrape out any remaining innards and be sure to remove the backbone, which looks like a piece of clear plastic. When you’re done the squid body should be totally hollow.
Cut off the innards from the head & tentacles. Then split open the head with a Y-shaped cut, spreading it open to gain access to the eyes and beak. remove them.
Scrub some salt into the tentacles to remove any dirt and grit from the suckers. Rinse them in cold running water until they are no longer slippery.
To remove the skin from the body, get a bit of salt on your fingers for a grip, grasp an edge of the skin, and pull off as much as you can. Keep salting your fingers as needed, and pull off any remaining bits of skin.
Place the clean squid and tentacles on the cutting board. Put wooden chopsticks on each side of the squid body to act as a guard while you slice the top part of the squid. The chopsticks should stop your knife from going all the way through and will keep the other side intact.
Score the tentacles and fins, too.
Make the sauce:
Combine garlic, ginger, hot pepper paste, rice syrup, mustard, and soy sauce in a bowl. Mix it well until it’s creamy and soft.
Grill the squid:
Heat up a grill pan over medium high heat and add a few drops of vegetable oil. Swirl to coat evenly.
Add the squid and tentacles to the pan with the cut part up. Cook for 1 minute until the bottom looks firm and opaque.
Turn them over and cook for another minute, straightening out the body with your tongs if it curls. Add some sauce on top of the squid and cook about 2 minutes.
Turn it over and spread the sauce all over the squid. Cook 1 minute until the sauce evaporates and the squid turns red and shiny.
Plate and serve:
Remove from the heat and transfer to a large plate lined with green vegetables like arugula or lettuce.
Sprinkle some chopped green onions over top. Drizzle some sesame oil over top too, and add some sesame seeds.
Cut the squid body into rings with scissors and cut the tentacles into bite size pieces right before serving. Serve hot!