Young Octopus with Saffron Rice & Lemon

Many of the recipes posted of late were prepared and demonstrated at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.  We cooked each of these dishes on an open fire. 

I mentioned in an earlier blog that we did several unusual dishes for the final weekend at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.  Among them were Whiskey Beef and Bacon Hash, Oxtail Soup, and Young Octopus with Saffron Rice & Lemon. 

The nearby grocery store was having a special on octopus and I thought it would be an unusual cooking demonstration for our audience.  Little did I know this dish would be so tasty.  The timing is crucial; the saffron rice should be the first part of the preparation. 

Saffron Rice with Lemon

Young Octopus with Saffron Rice and Lemon - 10/01/11

2 cups of white basmati rice
3 ½ cups of vegetable stock
½ tsp of turmeric
½ tsp of saffron threads
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
¼ tsp sea or Kosher salt

Pour the vegetable stock into a medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid and place over high heat.  While the stock comes to the boil, add the turmeric, garlic, lemon juice and half of the zest.  Stir well and add the rice and salt.  Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and reduce the heat to low and cook for 12-15 minutes.  Turn off the heat, but keep the lid on for an additional 5-10 minutes. 

Young Octopus
½ lb. young octopus
1 cup rice flour
1 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of ground cardamom
¾ tsp of ground cinnamon
¾ tsp of fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp of chili powder
½ tsp of salt
3 cups of olive oil

Rinse the octopus in cold water and cut into thirds (roughly a tad larger than bite-sized).  Once done, add all of the spices to the flour and blend well.  Pour the oil into a medium sized pot and put on medium to high heat.  The goal is to get the oil to 350 – 375 degrees. 

While the oil heats up, dredge the octopus in the seasoned flour, until completely covered in flour and flash fry the octopus for about 10-30 seconds.  Do not add more than two octopi into the pot to fry at a time, once it has curled up and cooked on all sides, remove from the pot and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. 

Once fully cooked, fluff the saffron rice with chopsticks and add to a plate.  Add the octopus on top of the rice and use the remaining lemon zest on top of the dish.  Now it is ready to serve. 

Serves 2 – 3 people.

About anj68

Alice uses cast iron pots and wooden utensils and keeps the recipes as close to the traditional recipe as possible. She even utilizes a fire pit located outside her home to test authentic recipes. For more information about Alice the Cook, visit her website at In future blogs, I will offer recipes, kitchen hints, and historical cooking lessons.
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