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.

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