Spicy Charred Baby Octopus Skewers

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers
Korean Chili Marinade, Red Onion, Meyer Lemon

Oh how we adore grilling season! Let’s kick it off with something a bit unusual… and exotic, spicy, smoky, charred, chewy, lemony too. These Korean chili marinated baby octopus (jjukkumi) skewers are interesting enough to serve at your next great BBQ party, yet easy enough to serve for dinner tonight.

Octopus has a mild sweet flavor – hard to dislike – but sometimes the texture can be off-putting for some people. This par-boiled, marinated, then grilled method solves the texture problem. The Korean chili marinade brings spicy yet fruity flavors, and not many can resist the char from an open fire. Grilled red onion and warm Meyer lemon juice balance out the flavor profile. As a bonus, it’s served on a stick. Ooh ooh fire up the grill!

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers

Baby Octopus Skewers Recipe

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers

Ingredients for 6 skewers:

  • 3/4 lb. par-boiled baby octopus
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 1″ squares
  • korean chili marinade
  • 2 meyer lemons, cut in half

To Par-Boil Octopus: Bring a large pot of water to a boil then turn off the heat. Add cleaned baby octopuses for 2 minutes. Remove the octopuses to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain well.

Season red onion pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers

Soak 6 wooden skewers in water.

Korean Chili Marinade:

  • 3 T. gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
  • 1 t. gochugaru (Korean coarse chili powder)
  • 1 T. rice wine
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2 t. sesame oil

Whisk ingredients together to form a smooth sauce. Toss par-boiled octopus with marinade and refrigerate 2 hours.

Alternate pieces of red onion with marinated baby octopus on skewers.

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers

A grill basket is the perfect tool to keep the skewers intact and from sticking to the grill.

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers

Cook skewers and lemons on a well-oiled grill over high heat until slightly charred on both sides (about 6 minutes total).

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers

Serve skewers with grilled lemons on a platter. Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkling of gochugaru (Korean coarse chili powder) and toasted sesame seeds.

Optional: Serve this platter with seasoned seaweed to add the cool taste of the sea, and blistered green chiles for more fiery heat.

grilled meyer lemon

The Plural of Octopus 

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers

Word Origin & History from Dictionary.com here.


1758, genus name of a type of eight-armed cephalopod mollusks, from Gk. oktopous “eight-footed,” from okto “eight” + pous “foot.” Proper plural is octopodes, though octopuses probably works better in English. Octopi is from mistaken assumption that -us is the Latin noun ending that takes -i in plural. POUS = FOOT.

Charred Baby Octopus Skewers
Enjoy. Spicy. Charred. Baby. Octopuses. (Not octopi).

13 thoughts on “Spicy Charred Baby Octopus Skewers”

  1. Well I learned something new here about not using “octopi.” I always buy the large ones, but as soon as I can find these little guys, I want to try this out. What a great idea!

  2. Living in a rural area is wonderful except when it comes to getting ingredients necessary for dishes like this. When we head to our cottage in Maine for the summer, I’ll see if perhaps I can find what I would need when we take a ride to Portland one day. A great dish!

  3. These look wonderful and are just the size I can buy in all my local supermarkets! Had not par-cooked them in such a way – just marinated and grilled straight away!! Shall try! Plural of octopus – had used ‘octopuses’ as the ‘i’ ending did not sound right . . . oh, they look yum!!

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