Couldn’t get enough of these beautiful sea creatures which were deliciously prepared in Thailand! We just had to put our Asian-inspired spin on this recipe: Grilled Baby Octopus with Nuoc Cham sauce. Don’t be squeamish when it comes to enjoying this unique seafood treat! (Tastes like chicken! Not really, but it tastes a lot like calamari.) These baby O’s cook quickly so we don’t recommend making this after four glasses of wine ’cause you’ll need to pay attention! We pre-cooked them for one minute in boiling water, then marinated them in the fridge for a few hours before grilling. The best part is the to-die-for Vietnamese Nuoc Cham sauce that we drizzled all over the top. Serve this as an appetizer for your dinner guests and don’t tell them how easy it was to make!
Beautiful baby octopus can be found at most Asian markets and select specialty stores.
Grilled to perfection, these little cuties make a great appetizer for your dinner party. They cook so quickly so keep your eye on the ball!
Tender grilled baby octopus combined with a Vietnamese Nuoc Cham sauce make this appetizer dish a winner!
Nuoc Cham dipping sauce is a staple at most Vietnamese tables. This sauce compliments so many Asian dishes and we’ve prepared our own version of this versatile sauce.
- 2 pounds baby octopus, cleaned and heads discarded
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Pinch of Kosher salt & pepper
- For the Nuoc Cham Sauce:
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus juice from 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (red chili paste)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Pinch Kosher salt
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- Fill a large pot with 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add in the baby octopus for 1 minute only. Remove and strain the octopus under cold water to stop the cooking.
- Place the baby octopus in a large sealable baggie. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the baby octopus and marinate for at least two hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Let octopus sit to room temperature when ready to grill. Heat a stove-top grill pan or outdoor grill on high heat (spray with cooking spray). Place the baby octopus on the grill and use a heavy pan or grill press to flatten the octopus while it cooks. Grill for 5 minutes on each side until nice grill marks appear. Remove from heat and place on a platter. Pour the Nuoc Cham sauce over the top and garnish with cilantro.
- To make the Nuoc Cham Sauce: In a medium glass mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together and taste for seasoning (more salt). Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or freeze for up to six months. Makes a great dipping sauce for Asian dishes.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #AsianCaucasianBlog. We’d love to see your pics on Instagram and Facebook!
If you liked this recipe, try our Seared Chili Scallops with Baby Bok Choy.
Shop products featured in this recipe:
It’s fall! I’m definitely feeling the chill in the air, which always makes me focus on butternut squash recipes. This awesome Roasted Thai Butternut Squash Dip will rock your world! You can use this flavorful dip with veggies, pita bread, or Indian naan bread — or just use a spoon! Doesn’t matter, it’s that good! It’s creamy and has a touch of heat. I even used this butternut squash dip to stuff a chicken breast. So many options! Make it easy on yourself, buy the butternut squash already peeled and cubed so you don’t lose a finger slicing it up. Note to self!
- 3 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 cup diced onion
- 5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons sambal oelek (Thai red chile paste)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 1 scallion, sliced
- Chopped peanuts
- Chips for serving
- Cilantro for garnishing
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the squash, onion, and garlic cloves out in an even layer onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat the veggies. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the veggies are caramelized and the squash is very tender. Broil for a few minutes to make sure they are caramelized.
- Allow to cool slightly and then transfer everything to a food processor.
- Add the cream cheese, coconut milk, sambal oelek, fish sauce, and sesame oil to the food processor. Pulse to combine the ingredients. Add a little salt and pepper and then run the machine until everything is super smooth and creamy. Taste to check for seasonings.
- Garnish with scallions, cilantro and peanuts. Serve with your favorite chips for dipping.
Adapted from: http://yestoyolks.com/2015/12/18/thai-butternut-squash-dip/