Octopus – Price, Identification, Nutrition, and Delicious Recipes
I/ What is Octopus?
Octopus is a well-known ingredient that can be used to prepare various enticing dishes. Let’s explore some basic information about octopus, including its identification, price, selection, preparation, and some delicious recipes.
1. Identification of Octopus
Octopuses are unique creatures characterized by their soft, boneless bodies and remarkable flexibility. They lack external shells, making them agile and capable of squeezing through narrow openings in the ocean floor. Octopus tentacles, known as arms or legs, are the only hard parts of their bodies.
Octopuses have a distinctive appearance, resembling a dome-shaped head with large tentacles attached below. Interestingly, what is often called the “head” is, in fact, the main body of the octopus, housing vital internal organs. One peculiar feature of octopuses is that they have three hearts: two pump blood to the gills, and the third heart circulates blood throughout the body.
The blood of octopuses contains hemocyanin, a copper-based protein responsible for oxygen transport. Although not as efficient as the iron-based hemoglobin found in vertebrates, this protein dissolves in the blood plasma instead of binding to red blood cells, giving octopus blood its distinctive blue color.
2. Nutritional Value of Octopus
Octopus meat is rich in various nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. These components contribute to boosting the body’s immune system, preventing numerous diseases, and supporting digestion.
– Enhances Immunity: The nutrients in octopus improve the body’s immune response, helping prevent various illnesses.
– Digestive Support: Octopus is a good source of selenium, which aids in protein metabolism and promotes gut health.
– Optimizes Metabolism: Vitamin B12 in octopus is crucial for metabolism, promoting overall metabolic function.
– Cardiovascular Health: Octopus contains octopamine, a compound that can help regulate heart rhythm, potentially benefiting heart health.
– Body Recovery: Grilled or minced octopus can be used to aid body recovery after strenuous work, especially when combined with alcohol or warm water.
– Improves Anemia and Digestion: Octopus is rich in nutrients, especially vitamin B12 and amino acids, which help improve anemia and aid digestion.
– Skin Care: The nutrients in octopus can enhance skin immunity, protect it from UV radiation, and maintain healthy skin.
– Enhances Brain Function: Octopus provides omega-3 fatty acids and important nutrients that promote brain development in children and cognitive function in adults.
Incorporating octopus into your diet can offer various health benefits, including boosting immunity, aiding digestion, optimizing metabolism, protecting cardiovascular health, supporting body recovery, improving anemia, caring for the skin, and enhancing brain function.
II/ Popular Types of Octopus
1. Madagascar Octopus: This type of octopus is known for its slender head compared to others. This characteristic makes it easier to cut into smaller pieces. Madagascar octopus has lower fat content, making it suitable for those on a weight loss journey.
2. Two-Skin Octopus: Two-skin octopus has short, thick tentacles with firm meat. Its glossy dark brown skin is a recognizable feature. With large tentacles, it provides a satisfying eating experience. It has a delightful taste and is versatile in preparation, suitable for raw consumption, steaming, frying, and stir-frying. This type is often used for appetizers.
3. Squid Octopus: Squid octopus is usually small in size, with soft and sweet-tasting meat. This makes it a suitable choice for children. It has just the right amount of chewiness, making it perfect for children’s meals. It is more affordable compared to other types while still ensuring quality and nutritional value.
III/ Octopus Price per Kilogram
Wondering about the price of octopus per kilogram? Refer to the latest octopus price table below:
– Small Octopus (fresh): 45 – 80 pieces/kg, priced at 90,000 – 120,000 VND/kg.
– Medium Octopus (fresh): 10 – 15 pieces/kg, priced at 120,000 – 130,000 VND/kg.
– Large Octopus (fresh): 3 – 6 pieces/kg, priced at 130,000 – 150,000 VND/kg.
– Live Octopus: 18 – 25 pieces/kg, priced at 300,000 – 450,000 VND/kg.
IV/ How to Prepare Octopus
When buying frozen octopus, it’s essential to thaw it before processing. You can thaw octopus by placing it in the refrigerator’s chilled compartment for approximately 24 hours.
After thawing, continue by cutting the tentacles away from the octopus body. Use a kitchen knife or kitchen shears to place the octopus on a cutting board and cut each tentacle as close to the body as possible. Repeat this process for the remaining tentacles.
Next, cut the head of the octopus away from the body and split it into two. If necessary, check and remove the octopus’s beak and ink sac. Typically, frozen octopus is already cleaned of its beak and ink sac before packaging. However, if you find that the beak is still inside the body, you can gently push it out with your fingers and then cut it away. Finally, rinse the octopus thoroughly with water mixed with a little vinegar, wine, or crushed ginger to remove any fishy odor.
V/ Delicious Octopus Recipes
1. Beer-Steamed Octopus
– 500g octopus
– 1 can of beer
– 4 lemongrass stalks
– 1 piece of ginger
– White wine, salt, and lime
- Step 1: Preparation
– Octopus: Begin by separating the tentacles from the body using kitchen shears. Then, use a knife to remove the octopus’s innards, ensuring it’s clean. Use white wine or salt along with lime to lightly rub the octopus, removing any stickiness and fishy odor. Rinse the octopus several times to clean it thoroughly and drain the water.
– Ginger: Peel and slice half of the ginger into thin strips and chop the other half into slices.
– Lemongrass: Wash the lemongrass stalks, cut half of them into chunks and pound the other half. Cut the tomato into wedges.
- Step 2: Steaming the Octopus
– Place the pounded lemongrass and ginger slices at the bottom of a steaming pot. Pour the beer into the pot.
– Place the octopus and the remaining lemongrass chunks and ginger slices into a steamer basket. Set the steamer basket on top of the pot, turn the heat to high, and steam for about 20 minutes or until the octopus is cooked.
– Once done, transfer the octopus to a plate and arrange it neatly.
Beer-steamed octopus is best enjoyed hot. When serving, you can use kitchen shears to cut the octopus into smaller pieces, then dip them in a sauce made from soy sauce, lime, or chili sauce according to your preference.
2. **Stir-Fried Octopus with Vegetables**
– 500g octopus
– 1 red bell pepper
– 1 yellow bell pepper
– 1 onion
– 1 carrot
– 1 zucchini
– 3 cloves garlic
– 2 tablespoons soy sauce
– 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
– Salt, pepper, and vegetable oil
- Step 1: Preparation
– Octopus: Clean the octopus as described earlier and slice it into bite-sized pieces.
– Vegetables: Slice the red and yellow bell peppers, onion, carrot, and zucchini into thin strips. Mince the garlic.
- Step 2: Stir-Frying
– Heat some vegetable oil in a pan or wok over high heat.
– Add the minced garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds until fragrant.
– Add the octopus pieces and stir-fry until they turn opaque and slightly browned, about 3-4 minutes.
– Add the sliced vegetables and continue stir-frying for another 2-3 minutes until they start to soften.
– Pour in the soy sauce and oyster sauce, and stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes until the sauce coats the octopus and vegetables evenly.
– Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir-fried octopus with vegetables is a delightful and colorful dish. Serve it with steamed rice for a complete meal.
3. Grilled Octopus Salad
– 500g octopus
– Mixed greens (e.g., arugula, spinach, and lettuce)
– Cherry tomatoes
– Red onion
– Lemon wedges
– Olive oil
– Balsamic vinegar
– Salt, pepper, and fresh herbs (e.g., parsley or cilantro) for garnish
- Step 1: Preparation
– Octopus: Clean the octopus and cut it into large pieces.
– Mixed greens: Wash and dry the mixed greens. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, thinly slice the red onion, and prepare lemon wedges.
- Step 2: Grilling
– Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Brush the octopus pieces with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
– Grill the octopus for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until it develops grill marks and becomes tender.
– Remove the grilled octopus from the heat and let it cool slightly.
- Step 3: Assembling the Salad
– Arrange the mixed greens on a serving platter or individual plates.
– Top the greens with the grilled octopus pieces, cherry tomatoes, and sliced red onion.
– Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salad, and garnish with fresh herbs.
– Serve the grilled octopus salad with lemon wedges on the side for an extra burst of flavor.
This salad is a light and refreshing way to enjoy octopus, perfect for warm weather.
Octopus is a versatile ingredient with a distinctive flavor and texture that can be enjoyed in various culinary preparations. Whether you prefer it steamed, stir-fried, grilled, or in salads, octopus offers a unique dining experience. Its impressive nutritional profile makes it a healthy addition to your diet, providing numerous health benefits.
When selecting and preparing octopus, follow the guidelines mentioned earlier to ensure it’s clean and ready for cooking. Try out the delicious recipes provided to explore different ways to enjoy octopus and impress your family and guests with your culinary skills.
Don’t hesitate to experiment with your own variations and seasonings to create octopus dishes that suit your taste. Enjoy your octopus culinary journey!