Octopus Take 2

Back in August I had my first attempt cooking octopus. The result was a little on the chewy side.

I followed this advice for the first few octopus and 3 minutes was too much. Way too chewy. The remaining ones took about half that time. The chewiness was far less, but still not absent. Even though my marinade was 6 hours, it seemed the flavors never soaked in to the octopus. The Korean spices tasted like more like a topping.

I got a few comments suggesting that the 6 hour marinade wasn’t enough. I would also need to massage the little guys. How much? 40-50 minutes. Well, there was never a chance that was going to happen. So a friend of mine and my cooking mentor told me about a Chinese hack. Add baking soda to the marinade. I used about half a teaspoon of baking soda and reduced the marinade time down to 3 hours. The result was my dish wasn’t chewy. Still not awesome, but much better.


Korean Octopus


Add yours

  1. I had grilled octopus once and my first thought was that if I was cooking this, I’d try braising low and slow for many hours. Do you think braising would work to soften up the tough bits?

  2. Watch the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and you will see that his apprentice massages octopus for about 40-50 minutes and then he checks the texture and if it is not acceptable he has it massaged even longer. Obviously he is serving it raw at a sushi bar (and the one in the video is pretty large). I think you could try this while watching tv or listening to music or a book, just use gloves so you don’t end up smelling of octopus for days 🙂 You might even try massaging in the marinade if you trust your gloves.

    You might also try to find info on dried octopus. I have had dried octopus snacks from Japan, sprinkled with paprika. It was not hard like a cracker, more like a thin gummy bear but a not quite so soft. It appeared to have been pounded flat and dried and then dusted with the paprika. Tasted pretty good. I don’t recall if it was salty but they might need to soak in brine or a salted mix before drying like when we make jerky.

  3. @JM – No idea. This was only my 2nd attempt.

    @Barb – I saw that movie. I disliked the joyless approach to food that documentary showed. Like I said earlier, there is NO WAY I would ever waste 40-50 minutes massaging my meal. That is 40-50 minutes I could spend learning how to cook something else. Using baking soda is my hack. It works. No massage needed.

    I’ll be on the lookout for dried octopus. I want to try that.

  4. We’ve lived in Malta (Mediterranen) for ten years and I used to hand catch octopus with just a stick to lure them out of their holes.
    We always stuck them in the freezer for a couple of days and pressure-coocked them briefly before they went onto the grill. No issues with toughness whatsoever – just a dream!!

  5. If they are small, I like to fry them (lightly floured).

    Otherwise, octopus with vinaigrette is simple and tastes amazing:


  6. I’m back from the Asian market. I got:
    1- dried squid (couldn’t find dried octopus
    2- baby cooked octopus package with a ceviche style recipe on the back.

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