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Mauritian Octopus Salad

This is colourful salad bursting with flavours: sweet and sour, salty and aromatic. Truly a more-ish and vibrant dish.


For the octopus
1kg fresh octopus, gutted, cleaned and beak removed

1 white onion, peeled and roughly chopped 
1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp white peppercorns

4 tbsp coriander stalks, chopped

8 garlic cloves

2.5cm piece fresh root ginger

1 tbsp olive oil 

2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped

1 red birds' eye chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the fennel and white onion
1 white onion, peeled

2 fennel bulbs - choose ones with nice leafy tops

2 tbsp vegetable oil 

1 tbsp white-wine vinegar 

3 tbsp mustard seeds 

1 tbsp coriander seeds
For the mango and apple vinegar
50g Alfonso mango purée

50g apple purée 

10ml white-wine vinegar 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve
1 banana leaf

2 baby carrots with green stalks, cut lengthways into very thin slices on a mandolin, to keep the shape and stalk

2 baby beetroots with stalks, again sliced with a mandolin to keep the shape and stalk

1 tsp each green fish roe and orange flying fish roe (you can buy both in specialist Japanese food shops, or online)

1 tomato, skinned, deseeded and cut into 1cm dice

1 small handful each micro coriander and cress


Wash the octopus in cold running water and cut the tentacles from the body. Put the onion, coriander seeds, white peppercorns and coriander stalks in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover the tentacles and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the tentacles and pressure cook for 60-90 minutes, until tender – test by inserting a knife into the thickest part of a tentacle. Remove from the heat, drain and discard the aromatics.

In a food processor, blend the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the shallots until soft. Add the ginger/garlic paste and the chilli, and cook for two minutes. Add the salt and pepper, and then the octopus tentacles, and fry on medium heat for 15 minutes.

For the fennel and white onion, bring a saucepan of water to a boil and blanch the onion for 30 seconds, to remove the bitterness. Lift out the onion with a slotted spoon, place it in iced water to stop the cooking process and set aside to cool. Using a mandolin, cut the fennel bulbs and blanched white onion into thin strips. Keep the leafy fennel tops to be used as garnish. In a bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard seeds and coriander seeds, add the sliced fennel and white onion, and leave to marinate in the fridge until needed.

For the fruit vinegar, mix all the ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a squeezy bottle and refrigerate.

On a banana leaf, layer the fennel, white onion, carrot and beetroot to form a mound of salad. Garnish with fish roe, diced tomato, drops of mango apple vinegar,micro coriander and cress and the leafy fennel tops. Arrange the octopus tentacles on top.

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