Deep-Fried Baby Octopus

Deep-Fried Baby Octopus II 1

In my recent ‘Foodstuff’ post featuring Baby Octopus, I did a quick little dish to try them out in which I deep-fried them whole with a seasoned coating. Today’s recipe is also a deep-fried appetizer style dish but I changed the approach very slightly: The last time, I fried the octopuses whole (except for the heads) and I used a fairly heavily seasoned cornstarch to coat them. This time, I decided to try marinating in order to influence the flavor (and perhaps the texture), and I tried using non-glutinous rice flour rather than cornstarch…

Deep-Fried Baby Octopus II 2

Although these tiny specimens of octopus are relatively tender when cooked, they are still octopuses, and thus a bit chewy. I like that, actually, but I thought it preferable to cut these little guys into halves so that, once fried, each piece can be popped into the mouth and eaten without either cutting, or trying to bit off a suitable chunk.

 

Deep-Fried Baby Octopus II 3

For this dish, I marinated the octopus pieces for about 4 hours in Chinese rice wine, along with a splash of light soy and a touch of minced ginger. I am going, as you may guess, for a vaguely Asian result.

 

Deep-Fried Baby Octopus II 4

I dusted the marinated pieces in rice flour along with just a pinch of salt and white pepper and then fried them using the same basic method I did for my original test deep-fry already mentioned.

In keeping with the Asian style of the marinade, I served these appetizer pieces along with a dipping sauce of Soy, chili, sugar, green onion, and a dash of sesame oil. In all, I liked this fine, but I made a few observations …

First, marinating really had no effect on texture (although this may be different with something more acidic, like lemon juice, or a western style white wine, for example). Also, I found that, in both deep-fry experiments, the flavor of the octopus came through very nicely but, in this present case, the marinade added very little to the overall result other than lending a slight hint of ginger. Again, using an acid, and other aromatics might change this but I found that adding seasonings to the coating flour made much more of a difference.

Anyway, I still have another bag of these little octopuses and will be trying them again shortly …

 

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