UPDATE: After I posted this challenge, I read this article on The Guardian and decided to stop eating octopus. Find out how you can make more sustainable food choices at The New York Times.
So for our first fry off food challenge it only makes sense that I got my inspiration from that book.
To be fair though, that’s not why I landed on this at all. Basically we were waxing lyrical about loaded fries options. And this is just one of the first things that came to mind and that I knew I had to make.
It combines three of my all time favorites (I have a lot of all time favorites): Sichuan pepper, Kewpie mayo and octopus.
The original recipe is called Tako No Kara Age. It comes with pan-fried butternut squash instead of sweet potato fries but I figured this would work just as well. And basically yeah, it does.
Do you want to try Nombelina’s entry for this fry-off? Get her okonomi loaded fries here.
Japanese-inspired Loaded Fries with Octopus
For the fries
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp corn flour
For the octopus
- 2 tentacles of a prepped octopus see instructions
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sake any quality
- 1/2 clove garlic minced or finely grated
- 1 tbsp ginger grated
- 3 tbsp potato starch
- neutral oil for frying I use sunflower
- 1 lime
- 1 tbsp Sichuan pepper smashed
- 1 tbsp spring onion finely chopped
- Kewpie mayo to taste (lol)
Prep the octopus a day ahead of time
- To prep your octopus, make sure the inside of the head is cleaned out by your fish monger and bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Once the water is boiling, temper your octopus by dipping it into the boiling water three times, for roughly 15 seconds at a time, before submerging it fully.
- Now cook the octopus for roughly an hour, with a lid partially covering the pot.
- TIP: To avoid your entire house smelling of octopus, wedge a slice of bread in between the pot and the lid.
- Turn off the heat and leave the octopus to cool completely in the cooking liquid.
- I like to divide my octopus into four portions of two tentacles and a piece of head each and freeze the portions I am not using for a rainy day.
To make the sweet potato fries
- To make the sweet potato fries, use the recipe for my regular sweet potato fries, but switch out the original spice mix for the white pepper and garlic powder.
To make the octopus
- Mix together the soy, sake, garlic and ginger.
- Cut the octopus in smaller sections and marinade the sections in the soy-sake mixture for 15 minutes or so before taking it out and dabbing it as dry as you can.
- Now lightly coat the octopus pieces in the potato starch, this is most easily accomplished by placing the octopus in a small plastic bag with the starch and shaking it. Shallow fry in the neutral oil until gold and crisp. Remember you've already cooked the octopus so you just need to crisp it up now.
- To make your loaded fries, place the sweet potato fries on a plate or what have you. Top with the fried pieces of octopus.
- Now sprinkle with the Sichuan pepper and spring onion and serve with the bottle of Kewpie mayo (I said it) and wedges of lime juice to squeeze over the loaded fries to really make all the flavors pop.