You need to use a pressure cooker

If frozen, defrost the octopus slowly in the fridge

Remove the beak and stomach of the fresh octopus (this is usually done by the fishmonger). This can also be done after cooking

Rinse the octopus well under cold water

Place it in the pressure cooker, sprinkle with with 10ml salt

Cover the octopus with one of the following:

half water, half red or white wine


fish stock (I used Ina Paarman’s Powdered Fish Stock or Fish Stock Concentrate)


Plain water…. but rather opt for above to get the optimum flavour!

To cook

Follow the operating instructions for your pressure cooker.

Set it on high pressure for 15 minutes.

After the cooking time, immediately release the pressure, and using a vegetable knife cut through one of the thickest tentacles. If the knife slides through it’s done! Otherwise repeat the cooking on high pressure for 5 minute intervals, until it is tender. I found that a 2kg Octopus took 25 minutes.

Once you have drained the Octopus, you trim away the beak & eye area if it was not done before.

To finish and serve :

The tentacles can be kept whole, brushed with oil and grilled on the barbeque or on a grill pan, just until they have a golden tinge.

Or slice the flesh and use in warm or cold dishes. My favourite cold dish is a vinaigrette. It has a long shelf life and can be used in starter or main course salads. You can elevate it by adding prawns, mussels, olives or artichokes.

Octopus Feijoada, is a delicious, hearty Portuguese dish using Chorizo and beans.