Food Galore 101: How To Cook Fried Octopus
Many people of different cultures have been eating octopus for generations now. There are different ways of how it is being consumed, as depending on the geographic location that you’re in – the Mediterranean, Asian, Portuguese, and Hawaiian cuisines. Varying from sushi to salads, we have come to some news ways how to prepare and serve it as a meal. Octopus is a classic dish in Spain. They prepare it in a variety of ways. Nonetheless, one of the most mutual techniques to cook it is what they call “á feira”, where they cook the octopus, cut it and add salt, olive oil and some spicy paprika, in some cases, octopus may be complemented with some cooked potatoes.
Based from the USDA Nutrient Database (2007), cooked octopus contains about 56 kilocalories (Calories) per 100 grams, and is a source of vitamin B3, B12, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium. Due to its nutritional content, we’ve come up with certain ways how to consume it in a more palatable way. There’s Deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw and a lot more. Anyhow, what’s important is to always make sure that the octopus should be tenderized before consuming it. Conditional on the size of the octopus, it might take an hour and a half (60 – 75 minutes, approximately) to become tender. For you to be able to determine whether it’s ready to be fried and tender, you may simply stick a fork in one of the tentacles and it should easily slide in with little resistance.
One of the most popular styles is to have it deep-fried. Deep frying is an absolute guarantee to prepare any kinds of seafood. You can have it ready within a couple of minutes while ensuring that the taste will be swiftly impressed to the food’s surface, locking in flavor and moisture and it adds appealing crunch, color and aroma. We’ve prepared a quick and easy guide to show you how to prepare fried octopus. Here’s how:
- 1 kg baby octopus, cleaned and cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons salt flakes, crushed
- 1 tablespoon crushed white peppercorns
- 2 cups tapioca starch
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- Rinse your octopus and split them into preferred number of pieces. The head is also very appetizing; just ensure that the beak itself will be removed if in case it is still present.
- Mix octopus, fish sauce and lemon juice in a bowl and marinate for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
- Place the octopus in a pot with the chili, coriander, salt, pepper and corn flour then cover. Turn the heat on to medium to medium-high and don’t touch for 5-7 minutes. Afterwards, uncover and check if there’s a bout an inch of water in the pot. If so, reduce the heat to medium to medium-low and cover and braise for about 45 minutes (for smaller octopus) to about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours for most large octopus. Slide a knife into the tentacles to test for doneness. Once tender, remove from the heat, take out of the liquid and allow cooling completely.
- Pour enough oil into a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees F.
- Working in small batches, toss the squid into the flour mixture to coat. Mix your flour with corn starch in a bowl and place about 1 inch of oil in your fryer or cast-iron pan. Dredge the tentacles in flour before proceeding.
- Carefully add the squid to the oil and fry until crisp and very pale golden, about 1 minute per batch. Make it a preference if you want it fully-toasted or just about right. Once the oil is hot, fry until just golden and crispy.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-lined plate. You may opt to serve with cauliflower torsi, some good crusty bread and Ouzo on ice. Another way to have it served is to put lemon wedges on a clean plate. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with the marinara sauce.
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS:
- When purchasing fresh whole octopus look for intact bright skin, intact head and arms, and a pleasant fresh sea smell.
- Make sure that the octopus is gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.
- To clean the octopus: lay flat on a chopping board, slice either side of the eyes and discard them, push beak (mouth) out from between the arms.
- Remove and discard the head contents (try not to break the ink sac as the ink stains) and rinse the head or wipe clean with a clean cloth. Skin can be peeled off or left on, it will turn a dark purple as it cooks. Cut head and legs into suitable pieces depending on size and cooking method.
- Some seasonings that well match the octopus are Capsicum, chili, fresh herbs (such as marjoram, mint, oregano, and parsley), garlic, green onions, lemon, lime, olive oil, tomato.
- To be tender, the octopus must be cooked very quickly over high heat or very slowly over low heat.
- Please take note that it has a mild flavor, medium oiliness, and is dry with a firm texture, denser than Squids, Calamari and Cuttlefish. The flesh is translucent when raw and white when cooked.
It is indeed a wonderful time to prepare meals like fried octopus. In a matter of minutes, you will be able to serve and eat it healthfully. In most parts of the world, it is one of the most popular delicacies ever known as it is a low calorie food and it is also very filling. It also contains a variety of vitamins that are needed by the body. Try it now!