Greek Recipes

Greek and Cypriot recipes

Octopus Pilaf – Htapothi Pilafi

In Greek: χταπόδι πιλάφι, pronounced khtah-PO-thee pee-LAH-fee

This can be made without the tomato; I add it so the dish isn’t quite so bland looking. Either way, it doesn’t taste bland and is a great entree, side dish, or first course.

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 4 1/2 pounds of octopus, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
  • 1 medium onion, grated or pulped
  • 1 ripe tomato, grated or pulped
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 cups of long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • freshly ground pepper to serve


A note about octopus: Octopus loses a lot of its volume during cooking, so expect that the finished dish will look like quite a bit less than the original quantity.

If the octopus has not been cleaned: Under running water, remove and discard the ink sac, stomach, and eyes from the large head cavity. Remove the beak, at the bottom of the head where it joins the tentacles, with a sharp knife. (Squeamish? Wear rubber gloves.)

Place the whole octopus in a pot with enough boiling water to to cover generously. When it resumes boiling, cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain. When cool enough to handle, rub the octopus with your hands under running water to remove the dark outer membrane. This comes off fairly easily, and if it doesn’t all come off, that’s all right. Cut the octopus into small pieces, about 1/2 inch long or less.

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the octopus, onion, and tomato until the onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Add water, rice, and salt, and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serve with a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper.

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