Monday, September 30, 2013

Deep-Fried Coconut Lime Baby Octopus

A Two for Tuesday Recipe 

If you like fried calamaris, I know you will like fried octopus. Personally, I think it tastes better, and if prepared right, it is way more tender. The coconut and panko coating give a nice crisp and crunchy texture and the lime livens up the flavors of the octopus and coconut. I like to serve this as an appetizer but you can easily make a light meal out of it served with a salad and a simple lime vinaigrette.

Serves 4 as an appetizer
or 2 as part of a meal or in a salad.

1/2 Pound baby octopus
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Large tablespoon coconut milk - the solid portion that is at the top of the can when you open it
Finely grated zest of one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted finely grated unsweetened coconut flakes (instructions below)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg white beaten until frothy
peanut or canola oil for frying
Lime wedges

Start by cleaning up and separating the octopus.

See the photo for how and where to cut, what to clean up and what to discard. Or you can ask the fish counter to clean and cut it up for you. I prefer to do my own cutting and cleaning.

Tenderizing the octopus:
Once you have your octopus cleaned and separated it's time to tenderizing them. Take the octopus and spread them out on a clean cutting surface and from about 12 inches above, sprinkle them lightly with 1 teaspoon of baking soda, then using clean hands, massage the baking soda into the octopus.
Leave in to tenderize for about 25 minutes.  Afterwards, place octopus in a colander and rinse very well to remove all traces of the baking soda. For more ways to tenderize with baking soda check out my post Baking Soda as a Tenderizer.

Time to marinate the octopus:
Place octopus in glass bowl. Add a very generous tablespoon of coconut milk solid, lime zest, salt and pepper, stir in to coat well. Allow to marinate in fridge anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.

To toast the coconut:
On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread unsweetened coconut evenly. Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar (I personally use stevia) over top of coconut flakes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place in oven and roast for 4 minutes and then intervals of 30 seconds until lightly golden. Allow to cool.

Time to prepare and fry:
Mix toasted coconut and panko together. Add to dredging pan in batches.
take each octopus piece and dredge through beaten egg whites and then in the coconut/panko mixture. Be sure to coat each side well. Place on a clean foil lined baking sheet (to keep your pan clean). Once all the pieces are coated place in fridge to chill for 30 minutes or longer. This helps to keep the coating on the pieces while frying.  You can also place them in the freezer to use for another time. Freeze individually and then store all the frozen pieces in a freezer zip bag.

In a pot with deep sides, add enough oil to go halfway up the sides or use a fryer and follow manufacturers directions for oil levels. Once the temperature of the oil reaches 375 degrees, begin frying in batches. Allow the temperature to come back up as you remove each batch. As you take them out of the hot oil place on a rack with paper towels underneath and lightly sprinkle with salt immediately.

Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!


  1. Beautiful dish Jackie!
    We only have one important question: What could we use instead of panko? It's really impossible to find it here in Athens. Can we grind some toasted bread? Is it similar?
    Thank you for the beautiful recipe.

    1. Use white bread, crust removed, chop it finely. Then toast in an oven at a low temperature (225 degreesF or 107 degrees C). It may take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. You have to check it often somthat it is very crunchy. This is what makes this recipe awesome :-). Let me know how it turns out!

    2. Just tried some today, along with fried chicken breasts (schnitzel). And it was really really good!!! Thank you for explaining us how to make some Jackie!:)

    3. I am so thrilled to knwo that you tried and enjoyed it. You are very welcome, happy to explain ;-)