Korean Squid with Smoked Streaky Bacon and an Indian Touch

squid_porkpI grew up ignoring the taste of squid and clearly remember the first time I had it, as an adult. The “honey and garlic” squid was sweet, tender, crisp and I ordered it many times in a Thai restaurant which is now very far away. I fell in love instantly and the older I am, the more I am fond of this humble seafood representative. Several years ago I learnt how to make Korean-style squid with gochujang and it used to be my absolute number one until I made this dish for the first time. My kind friend C. – to whom I will always be extremely grateful  – told me about Spicy Pork and Squid Stir-Fry she saw at Beyond Kimchee blog. Barely looking at the name of the recipe I already knew I would like it. I will not bore you with my detailed impressions. I will only say – having cooked it at least five times in the past month – that while Korean squid alone is excellent, squid with smoked bacon is a truly magical invention.

Apart from the truly revolutionary – at least for me – combination of pork and squid, the presence of Indian spices and of caramel (!) slightly changes the typical Korean flavours, but instead of hiding them, it just adds an additional dimension of flavours. In short, it’s a unique dish for different reasons and an exciting new squid cooking option.

Before I pass to the details, I must warn you that, apart from usual slight modifications of ingredients (and changes making it a dish for one), I have used smoked streaky bacon instead of raw pork belly simply because I had lots of it… (but as a big fan of smoked meats, I loved the result). Moreover, since some time ago I had stopped using curry powder, I replaced it here with a mixture of Indian spices I use to roast chicken breast for example. Needless to say, I strongly encourage you to visit Beyond Kimchee not only to check the original of probably the most original Korean recipe I’ve ever read, but most of all to admire highly inspiring and beautifully photographed Korean dishes you will find there.

TIPS: If you have never cooked squid, but found it always unpleasantly tough and rubbery, there might be three reasons for that: either it was cooked a bit too long or not long enough (the cooking time for squid is either very short or very long, nothing in between!) or… it’s simply not your cup of tea. Many people dislike squid because of its texture – slightly chewy, even if perfectly cooked – but those who love it, usually appreciate it a lot (I do!). Here squid should be stir-fried very briefly, but if you are a beginner, check it every 5 seconds because the timing depends on the thickness or size of the squid as well as the temperature of your pan and it overcooks easily.

Some seasonal suggestions posted at the same time in previous years…

Okonomiyaki with Green Onions
Okonomiyaki with Green Onions
Cucumber Fried with Perilla (Shiso)
Cucumber Fried with Perilla (Shiso)
Mango and Chilli Sauce
Mango and Chilli Sauce
Tomato and Shiso Salad
Tomato and Shiso Salad
Chilli Jelly
Chilli Jelly
Teriyaki Pork Rolls with Shiso and Gochujang
Teriyaki Pork Rolls with Shiso and Gochujang

Preparation: about 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves one):

1 big squid

1 small carrot, cut into quarters or thick matchsticks

2-3 thin strips of streaky smoked bacon/smoked pork belly, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 small onion, sliced

Spicy sauce:

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon rice wine (I have used sake)

1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon Korean chilli powder (or another medium hot chilli powder)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 green onion, sliced or the equivalent in chives (this is what I’ve used in the photographed dish)

1 teaspoon sugar


First prepare the squid.

Cut off the squid fins and put them aside.

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

Check if there are any bones to be removed.

Score it diagonally into a criss-cross pattern (the interior side), then cut the whole sheet horizontally in two. Finally cut the two sheets you have obtained into 2 cm strips.

Do the same with the fins.

Cut the tentacles into bite-sized pieces (I usually cut them in half).

Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
Fry the bacon pieces in a pan until crisp. Remove the excess fat (or not, if you don’t mind!).
Without washing the pan fry the squid pieces until they start curling.


Put them aside.

Wipe the pan (wash it, if needed), heat 1 teaspoon of oil and stir-fry the carrot and the onion.

Put them aside.

Heat the sugar in the same pan and as soon as it starts browning, add quickly all the ingredients you have put aside together with the sauce and green onion.

Heat everything at high heat, constantly stirring.



17 Replies to “Korean Squid with Smoked Streaky Bacon and an Indian Touch”

  1. I think I’d really enjoy this dish so it’s a good thing that I can source cleaned and prepped frozen squid at a nearby Asian grocery store. 🙂

  2. I’m one of those that LOVE squid but have never cooked it myself. It’s very hard finding squid here. One almost always has to order it at a restaurant. Even if one didn’t like squid, but they loved bacon, how could they not like this dish!? Bacon makes anything tastes good. Good choice on going with smokey bacon rather than pork belly. Still need to pick me up some of that gochujang so I can know what it tastes like. I’ve probably had it and didn’t know it. Great dish Sissi!!!

    1. Thank you, MJ. I love squid, but the only way I can have it is frozen. Luckily it’s really delicious (unlike frozen octopus which either I don’t know how to cook or it not half as good as fresh one). I usually buy it in a shop supplying restaurants. It’s really cheap there.
      I replace pork belly in Japanese dishes (okonomiyaki for example) also with smoked streaky bacon. I love smoked pork so much, I think it always tastes better than the non-smoked.

  3. I think I’ve given you my whole North American squid song and dance before so I’ll skip it and just focus on how much I love the sounds of your spicy sauce… oh my, I want this on everything Sissi! Just went over to Beyond Kimchee — you’re right, Holly’s photos are beautiful – so clear and full of detail; so well lit. And these are not always the easiest subjects to photograph either. Great inspiration, thank you. Love the warmth of your photo as well Sissi – in fact, it was the first thing I noticed and thought this must involve a delicious spicy sauce… turns out I was right 🙂 yum!

    1. Thank you, Kelly. The sauce is really fantastic… the magic of gochujang… I remember you don’t like squid. Maybe it’s just not the texture you are fond of? My husband doesn’t hate it but he doesn’t care for it while I get hungry looking at frozen squid tubes in my shop! I did what I could with my poor equipment and even worse photographic skills. I really hesitated a lot before posting it because it looks sooo much better at Beyond Kimchee! But then I told myself the taste is much more important and maybe one day I’ll change the photograph.

  4. Hi Sissi
    What a great job you did with this recipe! I, too, like your version of using smoked bacon. I am going to try next time I make this again. I am so happy that you love the taste on this dish. It is lovely to combine pork and squid together in gochujang sauce. A must flavor in Korean cuisines.

    1. Hi Holly. Thank you so much for the compliments! I’m glad you like the idea to use smoked bacon too. I stock it all the time and am somehow addicted to smoked pork, so it seemed natural to test it here… Thank you once more for this extraordinary recipe! It’s already a staple and will remain so for the rest of my life.

  5. Beautiful pic! I love squid! Unfortunately, frozen squid is available in store (usually). This dish go well with warm cooked rice…and I can eat a lot!

    1. Thank you so much, Nipponnin. I always use frozen squid. Never had a chance to buy fresh one here, but I think it’s quite good (unlike frozen fish for example).

  6. I love squid, but not my husband, therefore, I never cooked it at home…I love, love, love that you had bacon with it…this squid looks and sounds delicious…
    Have a great week Sissi 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Juliana. My husband doesn’t care for squid either, but I cook it all the time (if I cooked only the food we both like, I would never eat at least half of my favourite dishes!).

  7. I knew instantly that I would like this preparation of squid. I have never tried making it myself at home but I do enjoy it in restaurants and for the most part they absolutely know what they are doing – no chewy or rubbery squid! I love the idea of adding the caramel and the Indian spices which I am particularly fond of. The dish looks light and full of flavoursome ingredients which sound like the perfect light lunch.

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. I love squid so much I cook it sometimes twice a week and only for myself (unless I have a squid loving guest because my husband is not a fan).

  8. Growing up in Greece I learned from very young an age to love and appreciate squib. We make it differently of course here but since I love Asian I know I would love this one as well!

    1. Thanks a lot, Katerina. Whenever I think of Greece and seafood, squid comes first to my mind! I’m sure you would like this Korean version (with a slight spiciness adjustment of course).

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