How to Cook Octopus Japanese Style

Written by kay tang
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How to Cook Octopus Japanese Style
(Jupiterimages/ Images)

In Japan, mature and baby octopi are eaten both raw and cooked. While octopus flesh can be tough and chewy, you can freeze it before cooking. This technique will cause the flesh to expand, which breaks the cell walls. As the octopus thaws, it will become less rigid. Other techniques to soften an octopus are to pound it with a mallet, boil it or massage it with salt. The Japanese approach to cooking octopus is to simmer it for long periods of time in cooking sake and water.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Sake
  • Rice vinegar
  • Cooking sake
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Sea salt
  • Kitchen knife

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    No Salt

  1. 1

    Wash the octopus under running water. Turn it inside out and remove the entrails.

  2. 2

    Use a kitchen knife to slice off its bone-filled beak and rinse. Turn the octopus right side out.

  3. 3

    Pour two cups of cooking sake into a pot.

  4. 4

    Put the octopus into the pot and add water to cover. Bring the water, sake and octopus to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the octopus for a maximum of 90 minutes. Cook it for less than 90 minutes if the octopus is small.

  5. 5

    Take the octopus out of the pot and allow it to cool. Cut the octopus in thin slices.


  1. 1

    Remove the beak and eyeballs of the octopus. Clean and rinse.

  2. 2

    Massage the skin of the octopus with salt 500 times, which will take about 20 minutes.

  3. 3

    Bring 10 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.

  4. 4

    Add 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar and 1 cup sake. Bring this mixture to a boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Put the octopus into the pot, holding its head and lowering its legs in first.

  5. 5

    Put a lid that is smaller than the pot on top of the octopus. Cook for 20 minutes. Flip the octopus and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove the octopus from the pot and cut the legs into 3/4-inch thick slices.

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