Thursday, April 14, 2016

Soy and Sake-Braised Whole Octopus for #FishFridayFoodies

Remember that we kicked off Fish Friday Foodies this year. It's a group of seafood-loving bloggers, coordinated by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm. We share fish and seafood recipes on the third Friday of the month. 

This month, I am hosting. Here was my challenge to the group: "I invite you to get adventurous and cook a whole fish - tip to tail - or other seafood in its initial form, e.g., whole urchins or whole shellfish with heads and tails attached."

The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf and I have cleaned and cooked whole sea urchin. I've cooked whole fish before. Multiple times. Here's a Whole Roasted Bream with a Ginger-Tamarind Sauce and Citrus-Roasted Vermillion Snapper. My Adobong Pusit (squid adobo) uses whole squid; I've marinated and grilled baby octopus.

I love this photo of R because it encapsulates my entire philosophy of feeding my kids: eat adventurously!

But, before this month, I myself have never cooked a whole big octopus. I've cooked baby octopus multiple times; when I was in college, one of my philosophy TAs invited us over to his house for a BBQ and he grilled one big octopus! But, as I wrote, I've never done it myself. And, for this post, I ended up cooking two!

The boys liked the texture of my first attempt, but the didn't like the flavors. I had used wine and whiskey and it was a little too potent for them. So, I cooked a re-do. And this one was a hit!

  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 C soy sauce (I used a gluten-free tamari)
  • 1 C sake (I used an unfiltered sake)
  • 1 C fish stock
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 8 to 10 stems of fresh parsley
  • 8 to 10 stems of fresh cilantro
  • 1 cleaned octopus, between 1 to 2 pounds

In a large pot - I used a Dutch oven - heat 1/4 C olive oil. Add the half of the garlic and onions and cook for a few minutes until softened and aromatic.Add in the remaining garlic and onions. Pour in the soy sauce, sake, and fish stock. Lay the bay leaves and herbs on top. Bring that to a boil.

Gently lower the octopus into the pot.

Nestle the octopus into the liquid. Bring the liquid back to a boil.

Cover and lower heat to a simmer. Let the octopus braise for 4 to 5 hours. The longer you let it cook, the more tender it will be.

Remove the octopus from the pot and let cool slightly. Slice the octopus into 1" chunks. Set aside.

Bring the sauce to a rolling boil and reduce until the sauce has a syrupy consistency. Roll the octopus in the reduced sauce before serving. I served the octopus with a side of brown rice and grilled baby bok choy.

Here's what the Fish Friday Foodies created...

Join Us...
Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies?  We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month.  To join our group please email Wendy at Visit our Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas.


  1. How lovely Camilla! Your daring choice of Whole Octopus wins FIRST PRIZE in this month's event! Love it and especially love the 'Eat Adventurously' approach with your kids. Your son seems to enjoy the octopus :)! Thank you for choosing this theme.

  2. Thanks so much for hosting this month Cam. Here in Michigan the only thing whole octopus is used for is throwing on the ice before a RedWings game LOL>

    1. That's a waste of a perfectly good whole octopus!

  3. I think I need to finally cook octopus too - I have cooked so many things it's bout time and I love the flavor and my eldest loved it when we were in Greece too. This looks delicious!

  4. I don't know if I could cook a whole octopus, but I do love Calamari, so maybe? I love your approach to kids eating adventurously, that is the only way to go.

  5. Sounds delicious! I haven't had braised octopus but love squid. I did see some sushi grade octopus tentacles recently that were beautiful but way more than I could use. Sometimes they have the octopus available- I'll keep this recipe in mind!

    1. That's great, Sue. Yes, definitely give this a try if you have a chance.

  6. This is so incredible. I've always wanted to try this but have been intimidated! Love it! Thanks for hosting and getting me to flex some new cooking muscles.

  7. Geezus!!! You are a brave woman! I don't think I could handle an octopus…EVER! The sauce sounds amazing though. Do you think this recipe would work with squid?

    1. I DO think it would work with squid! Give it a try.

  8. The amazing color that it got from braising is beautiful to behold! I will try this! P~

  9. Never had octopus. Seeing your children enjoying it, feel I should try eating.