Dried squid was one of my all-time favorite snacks when I was young. I still love it and if I don’t eat it for a while, I get cravings. I always keep a few dried squids on hand in my freezer. Then I can just take one out whenever I want it, toast it on the stove and eat it.
If you’ve never tasted it before, it kind of tastes like beef jerky but it has its own pungent smell, intense flavor, and unique texture. It’s a little hard, but when you chew it, it gets soft with a lot of savory flavor. I usually slightly toast it over an open flame on my stove before eating it. Sometimes I skip the toasting and just eat it straight: I tear it into strips and eat it as is or I dip it in gochujang.
Dried squid is loved as a snack among Koreans, but you can make many other side dishes with it. The most popular is deep fried squid, called ojingeo-twigim in Korean. You can find it all over Korea, sold by street vendors, served in restaurants, or in neighborhood pubs, but it’s always best when you make it at home because you can make it just as you like it. I like it with a thinner batter and a generous amount of squid, so I can really enjoy the flavor and texture of the squid. I don’t like a thick, puffy batter with a small piece of ojingeo inside.
Frying the squid twice is essential. Just like Korean fried chicken (dakgangjeong), it might look crispy when fried once, but in a few minutes it will become soggy. Frying it a second time will keep it crispy for much longer. For convenience, you can fry some extra squid just once, freeze it, and then fry it again right before serving.
- 1 large dried squid (about 4 ounces)
- ⅓ cup potato starch
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- pinch baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup reserved squid soaked water
- 4 to 5 cups vegetable oil
For soy vinegar dipping sauce:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
- Separate the arms and body of squid. Remove the bone that looks like plastic inside the squid.
- Use scissors to cut the body of the squid crosswise into ½-inch-wide pieces. Separate the arms into pieces with the scissors. Soak in 2 to 3 cups cold water for 4 to 5 hours until soft and flexible.
- Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the water from soaking.
- Mix the squid with 2 tablespoons flour with your hands to coat evenly. Set aside.
- Combine potato starch, the remaining ¼ cup flour, kosher salt, baking powder, egg, and the reserved squid soaking water in a mixing bowl. Mix well with a fork.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a 10 to 12 inch pan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F. Drop a small spoonful of batter into the heated oil. If the batter floats to the surface in a second, the oil is hot enough for cooking.
- Dip each piece of squid into the batter to coat well. Carefully place the coated squid pieces, a few at a time, into the hot oil. Cook, turning a few times, until the batter is light golden and crunchy, about 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer the cooked squid to a strainer. Repeat with the remaining squid pieces.
- When the squid pieces have all been fried once, fry them again, 3 to 4 minutes until very crunchy and golden brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Make a soy vinegar dipping sauce by combining soy sauce, vinegar, hot pepper flakes (if used), and sesame seeds in a small bowl and mixing it well.
- Serve immediately, with the sauce.