• 1 octopus (600 - 800grms)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 onions,chopped
  • 10 olives
  • 2 tablespoons tomatoe pure (kunserva)
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 250ml red wine
  • Salt and pepper


This Mediterranean dish fits in perfectly with the Maltese cuisine. You should prepare the octopus stew only if you have plenty of time on your hands, since it requires long and slow simmering. The end result will be a very tender octopus in a stew which can be served as a main course or as a sauce with spaghetti or penne. A freshly baked and crispy Maltese loaf will come in handy to mop up the sauce.

Freshly caught octopus is readily available in most fish shops and open-air markets in Malta and Gozo. Very often the octopus would still be alive! If you are visiting Malta make sure you check out the Marsaxlokk Sunday open-air market, and you will find lots of freshly caught fish for sale.

1) First clean the octopus by turning the head inside out. Make sure you remove the intestines, the beak and the eyes. You can use a metal hammer to tenderise the octopus meat. Ideally you should ask the fishmonger to clean the octopus for you, if you are not familiar with how it is done.

2) Place the octopus in a pot of boiling water which has already been salted, and bring to the boil again for about 2 - 4 minutes.

3) Discard the water, and cut the octopus into 5cm slices.

4) In another pot, heat some olive oil, and fry the chopped onions and the garlic for about 5 minutes or until they become soft and golden. Add the octopus and fry gently for another 3 minutes.

5) Add the wine and bring to the boil on high heat. Stir well and cook for another 3 minutes. At this point add the chopped tomatoes, some tomato paste (kunserva), some sea salt and fresh pepper to taste and a teaspoonful of sugar. Stir well, cover the pot and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

6) Now add the olives, the capers, the mint and the parsley and leave to simmer for another 30 minutes.

7) 10 minutes before serving, uncover the pot and turn up the heat to thicken the sauce,
This entry was posted in By Course, By Occasion, First Course, Fish, Recipes, Stews, Summer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to STUFFAT TAL-QARNIT (Octopus Stew)

  1. georgina says:

    Is it possible to have the method to this recipe? I love octopus stew and would love to try it. Thanks:)

  2. anna borg says:

    You should never cook freshly bought octupus the day you buy it,but you should leave it for a week in the freezer before cooking to tenderize it ,otherwise it will take a long time to cook .At least that is what I do and it always turns out delicious and well cooked.

  3. P Zammit says:

    Thank you for this recipe, we love octopus stew and its been too long since we ate it. I think I will be making this very soon!

  4. Joseph Attard says:

    If you throw a cork stopper in with the octopus while it is being cooked (boiling), the octopus will become very tender. I learned this from an Italian cook. There is no scientific explaination but it works.

  5. Manuel Gatt says:

    i cooked octopus before,and it’s nice,but next time i try this one.
    Is there any difference? couse the next time it is from the freezer.

  6. Tanja Cilia says:

    This is not stew – this is spaghetti with octopus sauce. Stew has peas, potatoes, carrots and onion in it – and also, traditionally, walnuts and one square of bitter chocolate, as well as black olives and a couple of capers. Cook the octopus in a combination of Marsala wine and white wine, and add bay leaves. Anna (above) is right – octopus, when cooked fresh, becomes rubbery. Always freeze for at least three days. You will ruin it if you bash it with a tenderising hammer.

  7. We tried this receipe and it was delicous!! We recommend you try it too!! We bought the octupus frozen rather than fresh and it came very good. Thank you.
    Giet tajba hafna Grazzi hafna.

  8. Simone Amato Gauci says:

    I am trying out this right now. Half way through and smells nice. Thanks for recipe.

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