These Ginger Fried Baby Octopus take advantage of the fact that the smaller varieties are more tender, and often more sweeter than the larger ones. Here, a little complimentary flavoring is added by way of a ginger and rice wine marinade….
If you have extremely small, ‘bite sized’ baby octopus, you can fry them whole, but the ones used for this recipe were about six inches long and were halved. The mantles have been cut away completely, as you can see, but, while the mantles are perfectly edible, they won’t look quite as good on the plate with the tentacles and are thus best used elsewhere.
NOTE: If you are not very familiar with Octopuses, or their anatomy, you might want to look at my introductory post: How to Prepare Octopus
For this dish, the octopus pieces were marinated overnight in Chinese rice wine, along with a splash of light soy and a touch of minced ginger. You can play around with the amounts of each of these ingredients as much as you please (there are no ‘right’ amounts), and, if desired, you can even include something acidic, such as lemon juice, or perhaps a little rice vinegar.
Before frying, remove the octopus from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and lightly coat the pieces by tossing them in rice flour (the non-glutinous sort was used here). If you do not have rice flour, corn flour will work just as well and you could, lacking either of these, use regular, all purpose flour.
For the frying, heat your oil to medium and deep-fry two or three pieces at a time for about 5 minutes or so and drain well. Then, just before you are ready to serve, deep-fry all the pieces together for a second time until they are nicely golden and crispy.
Drain on a rack, or with paper towel before plating and serve hot along with your choice of dipping sauce.