Today I’m going to show you a great way to eat cooked octopus: as tenderly cooked slices served with a nutty sesame dipping sauce. This is the traditional Korean style to eat octopus, called Muneo-sukhoe (문어숙회).

When I lived in Korea, I ate octopus this way all the time. I remember one time my whole family went to visit my father’s hometown, which was on the seaside. My mom woke up early in the morning and went to the dock and waited for a fisherman to bring in fresh octopus. She came home with a large bucket filled with live octopi.  All our family and some neighbors and my father’s friends came over and we had a delicious breakfast all together. My father passed away a long time ago but it always remains in my heart as a good memory.

Some people like to dip octopus in chogochujang (초고추장), the sweet, spicy, and sour dipping sauce that Koreans usually make for raw seafood, called hoe (회) in Korean, but more people prefer the sesame oil based sauce in this recipe. I think the combination of octopus with this sauce is heavenly, and really allows the octopus taste to come through. You can try both and see which one you like!

Most octopus in North America are sold frozen and already cleaned. They’ll work well in this recipe, too. Wash the octopus and rub it with salt, remove all slippery stuff and cook it. And as I mention in the video, be sure to save the water from boiling the octopus, you can use it to make beef and radish soup (soegogi-muguk 쇠고기무국). Just substitute the water in the recipe with the water you used to boil the octopus in, and the resulting soegogi-muguk will be even more flavorful and delicious!Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)

I filmed this video in Nice, France, where I discovered they have an abundance of  fresh and delicious octopus. I was there for one week and bought 2  large octopi in that time. I ate a lot of octopus until I almost get tired of it! I have another video and recipe coming using octopus from Nice, and I have many more Korean recipes that use octopus. I’ll post more of them the next time I have access to delicious octopus like I found there.
Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)

Prepare octopus

  1. If the octopus hasn’t been cleaned, you’ll first need to clean it. Put the octopus in a  bowl big enough to hold it. Gently flip the head inside out.Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)
  2. Remove anything attached to the inside of the head, including the ink sac, until it’s nice and smooth. You can use your fingers or scissors. There’s a film on the inside of the head, remove that, too. During this process, some ink might escape from the sac and it might get black. Don’t panic! Keep it all in the bowl.Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)
  3. When it’s all clean and smooth, flip the head outside in.
  4. Sprinkle salt (sea salt or table salt) generously over the octopus. Then rub and scrub harshly, like you’re cleaning laundry. Keep it up for a few minutes, and it will foam up. Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)
  5. Rinse the octopus in cold water a couple of times. If it’s still slippery or dirty, rub with salt and scrub again until it’s clean. This process will not only clean the suckers but also tenderize it.
  6. Strain the octopus.

Boil octopus

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the octopus tentacles first. Press it down with a wooden spoon to completely submerge it.Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)
  3. Turn it over a few minutes later and bring the head to the bottom. The octopus should have changed color to red.Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)
  4. Turn it over every a few minutes to cook evenly.Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)

Cooking times

2 pounds (about 1 kg) octopus – 7 to 8 minutes
2 to 4 pounds (about 1 to 2 kg) octopus – 8 to 10 minutes
4 to 6 pounds (about 2 kg – 3 kg) octopus – 13 to 15 minutes
More than 6 pounds (more than 2.7 kg) octopus – 17 minutes

If it’s cooked too long, the octopus will be rubbery, and if it’s not cooked enough, it’ll be a little translucent. The flesh should be nice and soft and white. You can test if it’s done or not by poking the thickest tentacle with a chopstick. It should go through easily.

Make dipping sauce

  1. Mix ¼ teaspoon kosher salt with 2 to 3 tablespoons sesame oil in a small, shallow bowl.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. sesame oil and salt sauce

Slice octopus & serve

  1. Take the octopus out of the boiling water. Quickly rinse it in cold water to stop it cooking and to keep the skin smooth and beautiful.Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)
  2. Strain and let it cool down.
  3. Cut off the head.
  4. Split the cluster of tentacles in half. In the middle of both halves will be the mouth and beak. Remove these and discard.Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)
  5. Split each tentacle from its cluster. Cut the tentacles into thin slices and serve on a platter with the dipping sauce.
    Octopus slices with sesame dipping sauce (Muneo-sukhoe: 문어숙회)

How to keep the leftovers

  1. Keep leftovers in the fridge for a week or freeze them for up to 1 month.
  2. To freeze, divide the octopus into whatever portions you want, then wrap each portion in plastic and freeze. When you want to eat some, take out a portion and let it thaw out a bit, which will make it easier to slice. Then serve with the dipping sauce.

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  1. tammyd quebec/canada joined 5/17 & has 1 comment

    hi! can anyone help me? i bought and cooked a small octopus today from the frozen departement of the super market ( the fresh one were not so fresh) it was 1.5 pound so i cooked it for 6-7 min but it had a weird layer under the skin…like a fat layer, is that possible? i tried to let one tentacle in the boiling water for 12 min to see if it was just because it was undercook but it didnt change anything…? could it really be a fat layer or is it something else?

  2. objeanobi Bergen County, NJ joined 2/17 & has 2 comments

    Thank you for bringing me back to my parents’ roots!
    … Most Moonuh in Hanareum is sold pre-cooked. Would you suggest flash boiling and then cooling again? Or just slice and serve cold?

  3. Demetrio lugo, spain joined 2/17 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, this octopus is very good looking.
    I write to you from Galicia (Spain) where the octopus is eaten a lot and I tell you how we do it for you to try it:
    You cut the octopus as you know how to do it, sliced ​​in wheel on the plate
    You pour coarse salt
    You pour olive oil
    And at the end spicy hot paprika.
    I hope you like it a lot


  4. snowberry HongKong joined 11/11 & has 3 comments

    Just wondering how much is this huge octopus costs you? :)

  5. alleynecarlinda Singapore joined 1/17 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I bought octopus sashimi and ate it with the sesame dipping sauce, it was so delicious! so much better than eating it with soy sauce and wasabi! i think this is my new favorite snack!

  6. stonefly Olympia WA joined 11/11 & has 61 comments

    Beautiful dish (octopus and Maangchi)!!! Can’t wait to try it!

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