Korean Stir-Fried Squid with Cabbage and Carrot

koreansquidpThe successful experiment in simmering daikon with squid (click here to see the recipe) reminded me how much I love squid and made me look for new squid dishes. If I hadn’t seen this recipe in The Food and Cooking of Korea by Young Jin Song, I would have never even dreamt of stir-frying white cabbage and even less combining it with squid. Therefore, I treated it as a high-risk experiment, but the result was stunningly good. Actually it was so good that I prepared this dish three times last week!  The cabbage was refreshing, slightly crunchy, while the squid was soft and soaked with my beloved and typically Korean sweet and hot flavours. Since the cabbage, a Winter vegetable par excellence, is treated here in a definitely springtime or summertime way, I found this dish a perfect choice for a between-the-seasons meal.

I have slightly modified the recipe skipping the chilies because the gochujang (Korean chili paste) and chili powder make it already quite hot. If you prefer very hot dishes, add 2 fresh chopped chilies to the first frying step.

TIP: You can prepare this dish in advance and serve it… cold. It is delicious served as a cold salad.

Preparation: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves two):

2 fresh or thawed, cleaned medium squids (mine were about 15 cm long, excluding the tentacles) 

1 medium white onion, chopped or sliced

2 cabbage leaves, cubed (without the central thick vein)

1 big carrot, julienned 

2 flat tablespoons Korean chili powder

1 garlic clove, crushed or grated

2 tablespoons sake

1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili paste)

1 tablespoon maple or agave syrup

1 teaspoon sesame oil

(soy sauce or salt to taste)

1 teaspoon (or more) sesame seeds

2 tablespoons oil

Cut off the squid fins and put them aside.

Cut the squid tube lengthwise in order to obtain one flat sheet.

Score it diagonally into a criss-cross pattern (the interior side) and then cut it into 2 cm strips.

Do the same with the fins.

Cut the tentacles into bite-sized pieces.

Heat the oil in a pan and stir-fry the cabbage, the carrot and the onion for about 2 minutes.

Add the squid and the chili powder and fry them, stirring for another 2 minutes.

Finally add the gochujang, the garlic, the sake, the syrup and the sesame oil. Season with soy sauce or salt to taste. Stir-fry until the squid is cooked (about 3-5 minutes). Each strip should be white (whiter than the raw squid) and curled.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

48 thoughts on “Korean Stir-Fried Squid with Cabbage and Carrot

  1. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    Oh, I love Korean dishes and this looks like a kimchi inspired delight! Cabbage is one of those rare foods that I could eat, quite literally, every day without tiring of it. I love its versatility and adaptability (how it soaks up all the delicious juices). Your spicing is gorgeous here Sissi – I might sub some seared steak for the squid, but otherwise I’m completely with you ;-). Keeping my fingers crossed for spring… it’s – 5 this morning but, incredibly, it’s suppose to go up to + 12 by this afternoon! :).

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kelly for your compliments. It’s 9 am and I already am in an excellent mood thanks to you!
      I must say apart from coleslaw I know cabbage only in its dull, heavy forms (which are good too, but not for the Spring!), such as cabbage rolls in a sauce… Haha! You are still not a fan of squid? I really love it and if one day we meet I’ll exchange my steak for your bowl of stir-dried squid (I’m one of the rare, weird people who don’t like steaks… my favourite beef dish is steak tartare and I also like it in Indian curries, but steak doesn’t appeal to me at all). I cross my fingers for your warm Spring! We have been having quite a nice weather and I can finally stop wearing Winter clothes.

  2. Mr. Three-Cookies

    I will put down squid as one of the things to buy soon, been quite a long time. This reminds me of stir fried squid at Chinese restaurants, delicious. Have you tried deep fried salt and pepper squid?
    Looking at your recent posts I see you’ve been exploring Asia a lot, and somehow a banana cocktail and French dessert came in:)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Mr. Three-Cookies, I’m happy I make you crave for squid. I have never tried the salt and pepper squid, but I still remember my love for squid started when I had a sticky sweet and garlicky crunchy squid at a Thai restaurant. Unfortunately I have never found the recipe anywhere. It was crunchy, slightly sweet, the garlic taste was quite strong. In short, a pure delight. I no longer visit this city, so I haven’t had it for ages and haven’t seen it in any restaurant.
      I have been exploring Asia for years, but recently Korean cuisine somehow attracts me more and more. I think it’s springtime and the need to have spicy, hot dishes maybe? Also the fact that Korean cuisine can be made with most of my Japanese products is very tempting.
      In fact, I think I could eat exclusively Asian cuisine (especially Korean and Japanese) with French desserts and international drinks 😉 (Of course wine would be necessary too).

        1. Sissi Post author

          Thank you for the links! I will check them and test!
          You know I suppose I have never ordered anything with “salt and pepper” mention in Asian restaurants because in Europe salt and pepper are such basic condiments in every country, we no longer see them as condiments, but as obligatory part of every meal, so “salt and pepper” probably has never sounded particularly exotic, appealing or appetising for me, but you have made it look very intriguing, so I will give it a try.

  3. Charles

    Hi Sissi – this looks really similar to a squid salad we order from time to time in a sushi place we like – really delicious. I’ve never cooked with squid before – it seems like something which would be a lot of fun, and satisfying because it’s such a “meaty” fish (er… fish? What *is* it actually?)) too.

    I actually have all the things to make this, except the squid, which I’ve never seen – I guess I’d need to go to a fishmonger, but there isn’t one nearby – would mean a bit of a drive by car I think to get there, otherwise I have to settle for the pre-cut rings, frozen in the store – yuck :p

    I love the colours in this – did you serve it with anything, or on its own?

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Charles. So I was right saying it is delicious when cold! Cooking squid is very easy and quick and it’s lots of fun looking how it curls and changes from dirty white to super white 🙂 Of course there is a danger of overcooking, but it’s so quick you know when it’s ready to be served.
      I buy squid in the shop for restaurant owners, I buy it frozen (I think it’s very difficult to get it fresh unless you live close to the sea), but the whole cleaned tubes. It’s the cheapest animal I can eat here or in France.
      If you buy it at a fishmonger’s ask if it was thawed, because the only time I saw it sold not frozen it was simply thawed…
      On the other hand my Korean cookery book says freezing squid is very good. It tenderises it, so it’s even better to buy it frozen or thawed I suppose.
      If I were you I would try out Picard. They sometimes have stuff that is difficult to find anywhere else.

  4. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb

    I honestly wouldnt be able to tell u any korean dish which I had tried, this are unknown waters! Your stir fried squid with veggies looks very interessting though and I am willing to learn more about this food culture. Looks fairly easy enough to prepare too. Interessting find, thank u a lots for the share Sissi!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Helene. Korean cuisine is full of delicious, hot (and not only!) dishes.

  5. Caroline

    Mmmmm looks fabulous, as always Sissi! Squid scares me a bit, unless it’s fried, but I’d be willing to give this a shot. 😉 It’s usually the texture that gets to me.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Caroline. I love squid’s texture and I also love cutting it, etc. It doesn’t smell very strong.

  6. Juliana

    Unfortunately I do not cook squid since my husband does not eat it…but would love to try this dish…looks so tasty with the Korean spices…beautiful color as well Sissi.
    Hope you are having a fabulous week 🙂

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Juliana. My husband is not as crazy for the squid as I am, but I cook it sometimes just for me. It takes no time at all. I hope you are having a lovely week too.

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Hi Sissi, this is excellent! I love squid and always buy it when we go to Asian market. My husband likes it as appetizer for his drinks etc. I’ve never cooked in Korean way – sounds really delicious with gochujang sauce! I never used maple syrup with gochujang. Sounds like it’s very nice flavor with mild sweetness. Great dish for my husband with drink, and for me with bowl of rice~~!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Nami. I think you would love it, but maybe with less chili powder, only with gochujang 😉

  8. Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan

    Dear Sissi,

    The flavours in this dish must be pretty awesome with the mix of maple syrup, gochujang and chilli powder. I love squid too and my favourite is the Thai style where its just grilled over a BBQ but then dipped into an awesome sauce made of lime juice, diced fresh chillies, fish sauce, palm sugar and coriander.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much. As I told Mr. Three-Cookies I also loved squid in a Thai restaurant. It was crunchy, slightly sweet with lots of garlic. I have never found it in any other restaurant or on internet 🙁 I know the cook was Thai, but maybe it wasn’t a Thai recipe at all.. I tried to reproduce it at home, but have never managed. Your Thai BBQ squid sounds excellent.

  9. Hotly Spiced

    What an interesting list of ingredients and an inspiring dish. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked anything Korean! But I have been to Korean restaurants and the flavours are incredible. Looks great Sissi. xx

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Charlie. Our Korean restaurants are not great and horribly expensive, so I started to cook it on my own 😉

  10. ping

    I think you’re living in the wrong country 🙂 (Kidding)
    Do you know I look to your blog when I’m searching for Japanese and Korean dishes instead of some Japanese blog? I somehow have a feeling (just by your ingredients and amounts) that we have quite similar tastes (except for blood pudding) so I know it’ll work for me very well.
    And this is another one of those that I need to try out. Simple and lovely with a bowl of fragrant rice.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Ping, your comment warms my heart. Thank you for such kind words. I’m really proud and happy you look seriously at my Japanese or Korean dishes.
      (Maybe the blood sausage grilled with some gochujang on top would convince you? 😉 )
      I also think I should live in an Asian country. I sometimes dream how great it would be to have all the great Asian food to discover every day…

  11. Hyosun Ro

    Hi Sissi – Another great Korean dish you’ve created here. Looks delicious! Spicy stir-fried squid dish is very popular in Korea. It’s my family favorite as well.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Hyosun. I’m very flattered by your approval. I have seen you also have a stir-fried squid recipe, but with different vegetables. I will try your version when Spring or Summer vegetables finally appear.

  12. Jeno @ Week Nite Meals

    Sissi, I can see this dish happening in my near future! In fact I cooked a squid dish last week (Black Bean Squid with Peppers), the blog posting has not been completed, though I was happy to find out my family enjoyed the dish. After reading your recipe, I do feel like your dish is most likely alot more flavorful, gotta give it a try real soon!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Jeno. You squid sounds fantastic. I hope to see it soon on your blog!

  13. Elin

    Hi Sissi,
    Thank you for dropping by my blog 🙂 You have a nice blog too and I love Korean and Japanese cuisine. This korean stir fried squid with cabbage and carrots looks delicious. I will definitely try this out for I still have the gochujang paste after my Kimchi making 🙂 Can’t wait to get the squids !

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi Elin, thank you for visiting my blog and for your compliments. It’s funny because I am making kimchi today. The first “real” Napa cabbage kimchi (until now I was making the lazy version, with precut cabbage pieces). I hope this one works!

  14. wok with ray

    What a very nice contrast and vibrancy of colors. It is making me hungry. All I need is a big bowl of rice with this squid. Seriously, I am drooling looking at this beauty. Thank you, Sissi!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Ray. I also thought the colours looked nice, much nicer than on the photo actually 😉

  15. Liz

    I, too, love Korean flavors! I’d probably have to swap out the squid to pacify the family…but your recipe sounds great to me 🙂 So beautiful!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Liz. I think the spices and vegetables would go well not only with squid.

  16. Karen (Back Road Journal)

    All I know after reading recipe after recipe is that my husband would love to come to a dinner at your house. He loves all the adventurous dishes that you prepare. I’ll never be able to make them for him because the products just aren’t available.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Karen, you are both welcome at any time! I’m very flattered to learn your husband likes my recipes. Do try finding online shops. I’m sure basic Japanese and Korean products can be shipped all over the US.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Barb. I think the sweet and hot combination and lightness of this dish make it irresistible.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you. As a big fan of squid, I must say it’s one of the best squid dishes I have ever had.

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