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Baby Octopi With Sweet Chili Sauce

My apartment is still a mess because of the water damage, but I got my laptop back, and even managed to whip up something despite the debris around me. Today’s recipe may not be top cuisine – it’s definitely not what I had in my mind before I started cooking – but the end result was surprisingly pleasant. I luurv anything octopus, maybe that’s why ;)

Baby Octopi in Sweet Chili, Tomato and Pine Nut Sauce

I used to associate all tentacly seafood with rubber, mostly because of the deep fried “octopus rings” widely available in many restaurants. That is until I spent a few weeks in Milan on business, and tried their insalata di pulpo i.e. octopus salad. The dish had bite-sized tentacle pieces in olive oil and lemon juice, and the meat was more tender than the best chicked I’ve ever had. From that day on I’ve always looked for different octopus/calamari/sepia dishes whereever I go. Unfortunately I haven’t spent much time in Mediterranean countries famous for their seafood, but in addition to Italy, I’ve had great octopus dishes in Puerto Rico and Macau.

By the way, the rubbery, breaded and fried “octopus” rings are actually made from calamari. There are three different species that often are simply called octopus – calamari, sepia and octopus. Except for their eight tentacles, the three species don’t have that much in common. Albeit calamari and sepia can apparently be cooked to be tender (MM: tell me how!), I prefer octopus and its thick, juicy tentacles. Unfortunately Finland is the worst place in the world to buy them: the only selection seems to be frozen small ones (max 0,5 kg / 1 lbs). Many Mediterranean recipes call for octopi 2+ kg each – something I’m yet to find here :(

But since I am living amongst havoc, and haven’t really had the energy to replenish my food supplies, I only had frozen baby octopi in hand. A quick googling gave many tomato-based recipes, so that’s what I tried myself. The end result was rather plain to be honest, but then I tried to spice it up with some sweet chili sauce. Totally yummy! My original recipe was something like “Baby octopi in tomato and white wine sauce with pine nuts”, but scrap that! Just boil the octopi quickly and enjoy with sweet chili sauce! Here goes the “recipe”:

Baby Octopi With Sweet Chili Sauce

Serves 2-4 as a starter

900 g frozen or fresh baby octopi
1 can crushed tomatoes
fresh basil
1 big onion
lots of garlic
sweet chili sauce
salt, pepper
olive oil

Thaw the octopi in cold water if frozen. Set aside. Cut the onion in small cubes, crush the garlic, and saute in olice oil until soft and golden brown. Add the tomatoes and boil a few minutes. Add the baby octopi, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Run through a sieve to discard extra juices.
Serve with sweet chili sauce and fresh basil. I liked the leftovers straight from the fridge too :)

10 Responses to “Baby Octopi With Sweet Chili Sauce”  

  1. fiordizucca

    Hi! :) Sorry to hear about your floor! Besides it looked like a nice one and I hope that hasnt been damage too much!
    Glad you are “almost” back then :) The picture looks fantastic I bet the babies were too! :)

  2. Ivonne


    While I’m sorry to hear about the damage to your home, I must say this recipe sounds delicious!

    We eat baby octopus often and will definitely be trying this recipe.


  3. Antti

    Hi Fiordizucca, the floor was damaged all right, but the contractor’s insurance buys me a new one, so no worries :) I have an octopus craving again, and actually *saw* a couple of quite big octopi in Helsinki – but the price was a totally outrageous €27 / kg.

  4. Antti

    Ivonne, I’d be super interested to hear your best baby octopus recipes!

  5. Helear

    Blogissani k?yneelle Annalle teehuoneen osoite:

    Paikka l?ytyy Tukholman vanhasta kaupungista, saksalaiskirkon kupeesta. P??kujalta yksi “yl?sp?in”, jos menn??n rantaa kohti niin vasemmalle siis.

  6. Anna

    Kiitos tiedosta! Pist?n ehdottomasti mieleen seuraavaa Tukholman-reissua varten. Olen t?ysi teeaddikti, Amerikassa testailin viimeksi pu erh -teest? pit?mist? ja juuri nyt h?rpin Helsingiss? rooibosia jonka mustikanvarpumaiseen makuun j?in kerrasta kiinni ;)

  7. mustekala

    Mist?s sait nuo octopukset? Olivatko niit? Stokkalla myyt?vi? italialaisia pakasteita? Pit?? ehdottomasti maistaa!

  8. Antti

    Aseanic Tradingista 3. linjalta. Vii Voanissa lienee my?s. Molemmissa on mainiot valikoimat eksoottisia pakastekaloja.

  9. Ivonne

    Hi Antti,

    I was looking for an e-mail address to send you the octopus recipe but I couldn’t find it so here it is:

    1 pound of fresh baby octopi or 2 or 3 larger octopi (they’re better if they’re fresh), washed and cleaned with the ink sac removed
    1 onion, thinly sliced
    2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup good quality white wine
    red pepper flakes
    salt and pepper
    crusty loaf of fresh bread

    Heat the oil in a pan with a lid.
    Add the onion and saute until the onion softens.
    Add the chili flakes and stir well (we usually use about a tablespoon as we like spicy food)
    Add the octopi and saute on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes if using baby octopi, 5 to 6 minutes if using larger octopi, being sure not to burn the onion or octopi.
    Add the wine and stir well.
    Lower the heat and partially cover the pan.
    Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the wine and liquid in the pan has reduced and thickened.
    Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Serve with the fresh bread.


  10. Antti

    Ivonne, thanks for the recipe! And also for pointing out that I’ve completely forgotten to show our email addresses =)

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