Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Arroz de Polvo Malandrinho (Octopus Rice)

Octopus (Polvo) is very popular in Portugal and “Arroz de Polvo”, is probably the most known Portuguese octopus dish worldwide.

It is traditionally cooked in a glazed clay pot, but don´t refrain yourself from cooking it if you only have a regular cooking pan.  

Just follow the steps below and it will be delicious for sure.

A few notes on the recipe:

1.    The octopus cooking time given in the recipe is just a guideline and it may differ from yours due to the size/weight of the octopus.  Check if it is cooked before turning of the fire.

2.    It can also be cooked in a pressure cook, being the time reduced by half.

3.    This is not a dry rice at all, therefore, I recommend the ratio for water-rice to be at least 4 to 1.  If you use 1 measure of rice, a cup for instance, use 4 measures of water (four cups of water).

4.    The final cooked rice should be served with a very reasonable amount of liquid, which turns it into a very delicious “Arroz de Polvo Malandrinho”.

5.    And the last but not the least; serve the Octopus rice as soon as it is cooked, when the grains should be cooked but still firm or otherwise the rice will end up soft and over cooked.

Arroz De Polvo

“Portuguese Octopus Rice”


·         1 to 1,3 Kg     Octopus (see tip on Octopus)

·         1          Onion, Medium (whole with skin)

·         1          Onion, chopped

·         1          Tomato, peeled and seeded

·         2 TBSP Tomato paste or tomato sauce

·         2          Garlic cloves

·         1          Bay leaf

·         1 dl       White or red wine

·         2 cup    Water from cooking octopus

·         2  ~3 cup Water, regular

·         1 dl       olive oil

·         Coriander, fresh

·         Piri-piri  or red pepper  *

·         Salt and Pepper

·         2 cup    Rice (Long grain)


1.       Put the octopus and the whole onion in a pan, bring to a boil and let it cook until tender. About 1 hour and 15 minutes more or less.

2.       Remove the octopus from the pan and drain it over a rack/colander.  Reserve the cooking water. Once almost cold, cut it in pieces.

3.       In another pan, put the olive oil, the chopped onion, garlic cloves, and bay leaf and let it caramelize. Stir from time to time to avoid sticking and burning.

4.       Add the tomato and tomato paste, cook for 3 to 5 additional minutes.

5.       Add the pieces of octopus and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring to avoid burning.

6.       Pour the wine and cook for a few more minutes. Season with salt, pepper and piri-piri to taste (this dish is good on the spicy side).

7.       Add the cooking water plus 2 to 3 cups of regular water. When boiling, mix in the rice,  previously washed and drained, and the fresh Coriander.

8.       Cook for 8 to10 minutes. Should be cooked but still firm.
Check the seasonings and SERVE INMEDIATELY!

* piri-piri – is a very hot sauce made with red chilli peppers, if you can´t find, just replace it by  crushed red pepper.

TIP: Do you know that if you freeze your octopus for at least 1 week period and then cook it, the octopus will be tender because the frozen process expands the flesh and therefore, breaking down the tough tissue.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cabbage and Fresh Sausages Rolls

This is an unpretentious but delicious traditional Portuguese dish, cooked in no time, can be considered “Comfort Food”. It is best served during cold weather, but please feel free to cook it all year round as I do.

For this plate, fresh sausages are used instead of cured ones. Whenever possible, go for regular fresh sausages of medium thickness.

Once cooked in advance, up to 1 to 2 days before being served, it improves in flavor. Just reheat the all batch or as many pieces as you want and serve them with rice (traditional way) or any side dish of your choice.

Cabbage and Sausages Rolls
This time I used Coffee Sausages but it is traditional made with regular fresh sausages
  •          fresh sausages
  • 1         Cabbage, whole leaves at least 1 per sausage
  • 150g     Chorizo, cubed
  • 3TBS    Olive oil
  • 1          onion, chopped
  • 1          garlic clove, minced
  • 2          bay leaves
  • 100ml   white wine
  • Water OR Stock, salt and pepper
Prepared leaves, ready for boiling
Caramelized onion with chorizo pieces
Boiled cabbage / 5 min.

1.       Separate the cabbage leaves leaving them as intact as possible. If they are small you may need 2 leaves per sausage. Wash and reserve.
2.       Bring a big pan of water to a boil . When boiling insert the cabbage leaves a few at a time. Let them boil for about 5 minutes, and then drain with a colander and reserve. Repeat until you have finished with  all leaves.
3.       In a separate pan big enough to hold all the sausage rolls, heat the olive oil, add the chopped onion, garlic and bay leaves. Cook for a while until the onion starts to get color. Add now the chorizo and cook for about 3 minutes stirring from time to time.
4.       Pour in the wine followed by the fresh sausages. Cook them for another 3 minutes. The outer part will turn slightly pale. After this time turn off the fire and let them cool for a while before using them again (Step 1 to step 4 this can be done several hours in advance or the day before, keeping it refrigerated).
Cooking the sausages for about 3minutes until pale

5.       Spread the cabbage leaves on the top of the counter or another clean working surface in order to have 6 portions. Use small pieces of cabbage and put them on the top of the big leaf.  Place 1 partial cooked sausage in one side of the cabbage and make a roll. If necessary use toothpicks to help closing the roll.  Once the rolls are made put them back in the pan where the sausages were cooked.
                                             Spread cabbage over the counter and place a sausage at one end                                     

Put the rolls back in the pan and cook until tender
6.       Add some water OR stock to the pan and cook the rolls until the cabbage is cooked and tender.
7.       Check seasoning and serve the rolls with white rice, drizzling with the chorizo and cooking liquid.
Note: For this dish I like white rice with very loose grain
Loose grain "Al dente" rice
Tip: In order to get a non sticky rice like this one at the picture, bring a big pan of water to a boil, when boiling add salt and cook the rice until "al dente" (cooked but still resistant). Drain with the help of a colander and wash it with running COLD water.

<><><><><><> <><><><><><> <><><><><><> <><><><><><> <><><><><><> <><><><><><> <><><><><><>