Grilled octopus tacos

Grilled octopus tacos

Hungry For That
Lauren Bamford

The salsa in these tacos is somewhat inspired by shakshuka – that amazing Israeli dish of eggs baked in a rich tomato sauce. It is also great just with some corn (tortilla) chips. Be sure to leave it in the fridge overnight, or as long as you can, for the flavours to develop.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg octopus tentacles
olive oil, for drizzling
6 Corn tortillas
lime wedges, to serve
coriander leaves, chopped, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
1 guajillo chilli, (see recipe note)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 red capsicum, seeded and sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
60ml vinegar
125g tinned tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt


  1. For the salsa, soak the guajillo chilli in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Cook the capsicum and garlic for 20 minutes, or until the capsicum is really soft. Stir in the ground cumin, ground coriander, vinegar, tinned tomatoes and salt.
  3. Remove the guajillo chilli from the soaking liquid, reserving 80 ml of the liquid. Remove and discard the stem. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the chilli into a paste. Add the reserved soaking liquid, scrape down the sides of the mortar and work the liquid into the paste until well combined. Add the paste to the capsicum mixture and cook, covered, for 1 hour, still over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. To prepare the octopus, bring a saucepan of water to the boil over medium heat. Cook the octopus for 45 minutes, or until nice and tender. Drain and refresh the octopus under cold water. Rub off the purple skin and pat dry with paper towel.
  5. Preaheat a barbecue or chargrill pan to a high heat. Drizzle a little olive oil over the octopus and grill for 2–3 minutes per side, or until slightly charred. Remove from the heat and slice into chunks.
  6. When the octopus is almost ready, warm the tortillas. If using a barbecue, warm the tortillas on the hotplate for about 10 seconds, or until they become soft and pliable. Alternatively, heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat and warm the tortillas for about 10 seconds each, or until soft and pliable. Wrap the tortillas in a damp, clean tea towel to keep them soft until ready to serve.
  7. To assemble, spread a little of the salsa on a tortilla. As the salsa is quite sweet, you don’t need much. Top with some of the octopus. Garnish with the lime wedges and some fresh coriander leaves and serve.


  • You can buy guajillo chillies from South American food stores.
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