Recipe by: Patricia Almeida
Source: Family recipe
Serves: 6


  • 1. kg (2 lb 10 oz) octopus
  • 1 large yellow onion, whole, to cook with the octopus
  • 100 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and cut into small pieces
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • A handful of coriander leaves, chopped, plus a little more to garnish
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 300 g (10. oz) long grain rice
  • 6 prawns, heads on and de-veined


  • If the octopus has not been cleaned by the fishmonger, clean the octopus as follows. Cut of the tentacles from the head and slice off and discard the section where the eyes are between the tentacles and the head. Clean out and discard the inner parts of the head including the ink.
  • Remove and discard the skin. From the tentacle section, remove and discard the inner hard core called the beak. Wash the octopus.
  • In a saucepan filled with water, and cook the large onion (whole) and the octopus over a medium heat. The onion is used as an indicator; when a fork can be easily inserted into the onion, it is cooked and the octopus will be cooked too. This should take around 2 hours. The octopus should be really tender.
  • Drain (but reserve the water), discard the large onion and cut the octopus into bite-sized pieces.
  • Set the octopus and its cooking water aside, in separate containers.
  • Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped onion, garlic and bay leaf. Cook until the onion turns golden brown.
  • Add the tomato pieces, turn the heat to low and bring to a simmer until the tomato starts to break down.
  • Add the octopus pieces, parsley and coriander to the saucepan. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and pour in the reserved cooking water, enough to cover the octopus and rice (about 1 litre).
  • Bring the saucepan contents to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, add the rice, lower the heat and cook for 8 more minutes. Add the prawns and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and place into a serving bowl. Before serving, arrange the prawns on top and sprinkle with the remaining chopped coriander as a garnish.

Download PDF version here: Portuguese Octopus Rice Patricia Almeida