Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chuka Idako

What's that I see? Baby octopus that shimmer ruby red? Red, red, ready to pop in my mouth like little legged candies of the sea? Mmmm...

I've scoured the web for recipes not willing to shell out $16.99/lb to the tidal forces of the Asian grocery store. All I've found are varied spellings for the dish and a person here or there paining to find a recipe. My Bible for all foodstuffs Japanese, "Japanese Cooking," doesn't mention it. Some Bible, eh? If it were the only Japanese cookbook you owned, you'd consider it your Bible for all foodstuffs Japanese, too. I found one recipe at:

But I can't help but feel like this person is way off on his/her quantities and ratios. Here's my take:

Chuka Idako [sic][???]

2 lb. Baby Octopus (bought prepackaged and frozen at the Asian grocery store)
0.4 c. Teriyaki
2 tsp. Bean Paste
1/4 c. Soy Sauce
2 large splashes Rice Wine
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 cloves Garlic
Large pinch Ground Ginger
1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
Baby's handful Sesame Seeds which have lazily NOT been toasted
3 Green Onions
1 tbsp Chili Sauce

Mix all the stuff well as if you were making Korean Pork Belly. I know I'm on a bit of an Asian kick at the moment, but I feel like I've finally discovered the secret to cooking authentic(ish?) Asian food: marinate the heck out of it! And now I just want to make everything I've ever enjoyed and even some things I've never had before--- like Chuka Idako. Also, isn't it amazing how similar the words Idako and Idaho are, and yet... actually, I should stop here since Google translate doesn't even recognize the word Idako or Iidako. I have no idea what it is I'm trying to make, I just know it had better taste good.

That was a rather long tangent. Once you've marinated this thing for 3 or 4 hours, heat the remaining liquid- add a little water if necessary, and then steam/simmer (braise?) the Octopus for just a couple minutes until the tentacles curl like those of an anime monster around their body of their prey/love. Enjoy.

Or don't enjoy. These weren't that great. I think I overcooked them. They're not terrible, but it will be a slight bit of a chore finishing them...

***On a personal note, I'd like to pay my respect to Etta James. I've enjoyed her music for years, but only recently got back into her when Flo Rider remixed her Something's Got a Hold on Me into Good Feeling. That song either brought a smile to her face or sent her to her grave a few years too soon. Either way Etta James, I like your music.

***AND THE BUGLE'S BACK!!! I guess it didn't really go anywhere, but it's not gone! I still hold out a giant middle finger for Rupert Murdoch, but thank you John, Andy, and Chris for doing this for your fans!

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