Korean Spicy Sotong (Squid) Salad


Korean spicy sotong (squid) salad

was rummaging through my fridge one day and saw this bottle of gojuchang (a savoury and pungent Korean fermented red pepper paste) – see picture below. I must have bought that months ago from a Korean provision shop. It is supposedly such an indispensable universal seasoning condiment – and I do often take it at Korean restaurants eg for bibimbap (a signature Korean dish-a bowl of warm rice topped with seasoned sauteed mixed vegetables usually with a raw egg & beef) – but it seems that I have found no use for it.

gojuchang - Korean fermented red pepper paste

gojuchang – Korean fermented red pepper paste

I googled the internet and chanced on this Korean Spicy Squid Salad Recipe. I tried it, and it was easy to do & good. I didn’t have watercress & cucumbers so I used what I had in the fridge – kang kong, celery and bean sprouts, and it turned out rather well, as seen in the above picture – my first & only attempt so far! 🙂

The bean sprouts & kang kong were just blanched, with the latter squeezed dry on a sieve to remove excess water as shown in the video. The celery & yellow onions I thought needed some sautee-ing, which I did to soften, and they turned out very well indeed.

After that it was just a matter of adding & mixing gojuchang & other seasoning. It made for a very refreshing & nice salad, a pleasant addition to dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy


  • 1 large squid (250g) skin, wings & head removed
  • 1 stalk of celery cut 2cm size
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 a bunch of kang kong
  • a handful of bean sprouts

Seasoning mix:

  • 2.5 tbsp gojuchang Korean red pepper paste
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • sea salt to taste


  1. Prepare the squid – remove the head, wings & red skin. cut open the squid length-wise. for the chequered pattern cut, slice length-wise along squid 1/4in apart, careful not to cut through. then cut the squid in 1/2 length-wise. now slice across & cut through the squid every 4th cut – that will produce a 1in width cut with square-cut patterns.
  2. Make the salad – blanched the bean sprouts & the kang kong & squeeze out excess water from the kang kong by placing on a sieve. sauteed the celery & yellow onions. Cooked the squid in boiling water for 4minutes until cooked. In a large bowl, mix everything together – the squid, vegetables & the seasoning mix. serve.

What’s Cooking?

Couple of my friends cannot take certain food. One cannot take beef, another has intolerance to animal fat.

When I invite them for home makans (meals), I will plan before hand – like replaced the beef with GR (Gordon Ramsay) crispy salmon once previously, which I then proceeded to dish out an undercooked version no thanks to another friend buzzing in my ears offering unsolicited coaching. 🙂 Another time I replaced the beef with 3 pan-seared hokkaido scallops, this rather successfully. And in place of belly pork spaghetti or crab linguine in pink sauce (creamy tomatoes), I had a specially made single portion of seafood alio olio for the friend.

All my friends are by nature very “kek ki” (客气) & “automatic” – easy-going & accepting/non-demanding and not wanting to trouble others. 🙂 I am mostly of the same disposition, I might add, hahaha…

For myself as the person cooking, the perspective though is somewhat different. I understand now that I cook, that it is not about the thing you cook but about what makes your guests (family or friends) enjoy the food & relax & make that a memorable experience for everyone, that is important. So the person cooking will naturally want to find out what the guests need, and to plan the meal accordingly. It would not make sense for someone to cook (however special he might think the food to be) which did not suit the guests’ palette – the whole exercise would be quite meaningless. So it is no trouble at all to find out, and to plan accordingly!

I am sure it must be true though it still sounds corny to me that great dishes only come with love in the heart (from Korean soap operas) 🙂 but I know for sure that cooking is most fun when you turn out a nice dish according to plan (which is itself most pleasurable) or be it pleasantly surprised; and those sharing it truly enjoy it!

One thing I realised after I started cooking (which is not so long ago) is the importance of planning – I guess like all things else! And if you plan & get the things together & the sequences right, everything come together “magically” and you won’t be stressed, distressed & dis-oriented!

Here’s for more stressless, fun cooking, eating & hanging out!

c.h.e.f andy

Incredible Value Dinner @ Taoheung Carnavorn Road Tsimshatsui on 11Mar2013


Taoheung group is my favourite restaurant group in Hong Kong. I specially like the set meals at Ying (迎) at Nathan Road and at Chung Cuisine (锺菜) at Times Square Causeway Bay.

They have ongoing promotions, and we managed to book a table for 3pax at Taohueng @ Carnavorn Road Tsimshatsui during our recent visit (they will NOT accept table booking on the same day but you can go at 6pm OR 9pm to queue up for the dinner OR supper promotions – they even have an electronic colour-coded queue system for 2pax, 3-4pax, 5-6pax, 7-8pax etc, more sophisticated than the banks..lol..). 🙂

There was NO service to talk about here (well at least for the 1/2hr starting from 6pm where there seemed to be orderly mayhem!). I had tried previously another of their restaurants Pier 88 (稻香超級漁港) during the promotion hour and to their credit service there was ok despite the mad rush at 6pm.

We had the incredible value promotion in the picture above=HK$99 for a steamed live garoupa (I estimated about 700g-800g) PLUS a platter comprising suckling pig, roast duck, char siew & soy chicken! 🙂 The normal price for the tiger garoupa alone (w/o promotion) was HK$238!

The steamed garoupa was very good, which was like “routine” in Hong Kong.


steamed live tiger garoupa

The suckling pig platter – what can I say? every item was very good even including the black fungus, which was crunchy with a touch of sesame oil. Not sure the normal price for such a platter, but I would gladly pay HK$99 or more for the platter alone.

platter=suckling pig, roast duck, char siu, soy chicken

platter=suckling pig, roast duck, char siew, soy chicken

You kind of “have to” order 例汤 (soup of the day) when in a cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong, so we dutifully ordered one on the menu=chicken & fish maw (花膠) soup. It was a big pot costing HK$108. It was good but NOT great! Auntie Bes can make just as good soup at home. The one we had at Lei Garden (利苑) Time Square – which is famous for its soup – the day before, a smaller pot at HK$88 was by far the better.


& when in Hong Kong, you “have to” order vegetables. We had choy sum with moi choy (梅菜菜心). It was wonderful! 🙂


choy sum with moi choy (梅菜菜心)

The very satisfying dinner for 3 of us came to HK$331 (which already included 10% service charge), like S$53 nett! I can certainly do this every time. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy