More people should try barbecued octopus!
One of my earliest memories is of my father throwing a wine cork into a pot of octopus broth. It was on a family camping trip and he was making octopus stew for a large group of people.
His grandparents always did the same claiming that it made the octopus meat more tender. I’ve also since learned that freezing octopus first and then letting it defrost before cooking helps tenderise the meat too. It really works.
Whether the cork makes the octopus more tender or not, I’ll probably never know. I’ve never tried it any other way nor will I. What I can say is that the octopus I cook is always very tender and much better than I’ve had in restaurants!
Don’t take a chance with this magnificent fish! Throw a cork in and enjoy the wine as it cooks.
- 450g (1 Lbs.) or more – octopus – cleaned with eyes and beak removed – a good fishmonger can do this for you.
- For the octopus marinade
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon – finely chopped green chilli peppers
- Juice of one lemon
- For the sauce
- 2 onions – finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes – finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic puree
- 1 tablespoon ginger puree
- 3 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
- 1 tablespoon smoked (or normal) cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek powder
- 5 cloves
- 1 inch piece cinnamon
- 4 black coriander pods
- 3 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
- Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Build a charcoal barbecue. Ensure the coals are nice and white hot and spread evenly under the grill.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and don’t forget to toss that cork in!
- When boiling, plop your octopus in the water and then simmer for about 45 minutes. This will tenderise the octopus.
- After 45 minutes, cut a piece off one of the legs to ensure it is nice and tender. If not… simmer it longer.
- When tender, remove the octopus from the water but retain about a half a pint of the water.
- Now melt the ghee in a large saucepan.
- When hot, add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods and mustard seeds and fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop – about 30 seconds.
- Now add the chopped onion and stir to combine. Fry the onion for about ten minutes and stir in the garlic, ginger and chopped tomatoes.
- Continue stirring as you sprinkle in the smoked cumin, turmeric, chilli powder, fenugreek powder and coriander. You want the sauce to be quite bubbly but not burning.
- Chop the octopus meat into large pieces and place the meat into the marinade while you make you sauce.
- Please note… 30 minutes is as long as you want the octopus to marinade. Longer will make the meat tough.
- Add about 300ml of the octopus broth and then cover and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes while you barbecue your octopus.
- Grill the octopus over the coals until blackened nicely. This should only take a couple of minutes.
- Pour a bit of the sauce onto four heated plates.
- Place the barbecued octopus pieces on top and enjoy with rice or warmed French bread.