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Destination Dining: Coconut Octopus

Coconut Octopus by Mario Castrellón

Chef Mario Castrellón is re-inventing Panamanian cuisine at the country's leading restaurant, Maito, in Panama City.

Here the chef shares his step-by-step recipe for coconut octopus. 

The dish was featured during the second edition of the S.Pellegrino Destination Dining series, a multi-culinary exchange of restaurants' recipes between the U.S. and Latin America, when it was cooked by chefs Nando and Valerie Chang of Itamae (Miami).

26 August, 2021
Average: 3.4 (8 votes)


serves for



Arborio rice
300 g (1.5 cup)
White wine
20 g (1/4 cup)
50 g, (1.5 cup), brunoise
Vegetable broth
500 ml (2 1/4 cups)
Olive oil
20 ml (1 tablespoon)
Potato Starch Sauce Bottle
Potato starch
65 g (1/2 cup)
250 ml (1 and 1/20 cup)
Scorched Rice
70 g ( 1/4 cup)
Octopus cooking water
70 ml (5 tablespoons)
10 g (1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon)
Cornstarch cream
9 ml ( >1 tablespoon)
Crispy Octopus
Coconut milk
25 ml (1/8 cup)
8 g (1.8 teaspoon)
Coconut and Curry Glaze
Octopus cooking water
3 L (13 cups)
Ginger paste
6 g (1/4 cup)
Coconut milk
800 ml (3 1/2 cup)
10 g (1.6 teaspoon)
9 g (1.5 teaspoon)
Garlic powder
10 g (1.6 teaspoon)
60 g (1/6 cup)
Bell peppers
60 g (12 1/4 cup)
Annatto oil
30 g ( 2 1/4 cup)
Five spice powder
3 g (1.27 teaspoon)
Xanthan powder
Cassava with Garlic Sauce
650 g (2 3/4 cup)
200 g (3/4 cup)
200 g (3/4 cup)
Ají trompo
50 g (1/4 cup)
Yellow onion
100 g (2 cup)
Olive oil
250 ml (1 cup)
15 g (> 1 tablespoon)
White vinegar
60 ml (4 tablespoon)
Lemon juice
25 ml (5 teaspoon)

Step 01


Pre-cook the rice. Sauté onion in olive oil until crisp, then add the rice, and let it toast a little.

Then add the vegetable stock little by little and stir. Add more stock as the rice dries. Remove the rice when you get a semi-raw texture. Let it cool.

Step 02

Potato starch sauce bottle

Mix and stir with a whisk. Put it into a sauce bottle and set aside in the fridge. 

Step 03

Scorched rice

Fry the peppers in an 8” Teflon frying pan and add rice and some octopus water; then add some more octopus water and the starch mixture. Stir evenly to integrate the starch with the broth.

Cook over medium heat to toast the edges as you lift the rice with a rubber spatula. After 10 minutes of cooking, the bottom should be entirely crispy.

Step 04

Crispy octopus

Dilute the curry in the coconut milk.

Pack the octopus and the milk mixture in a vacuum container.

Cook it in the steam oven to 95ºC for 2 hours.

Set the octopus water aside to make the sauce and cook the risotto.

Cut the octopus into paired strips with a weight of 135 g.

Seal it on the griddle or grill until you get a crispy texture.

Step 05

Coconut and curry glaze

Sauté the vegetables, then add the curry and ginger paste (ginger + blended oil) and fry. Then we add the rest of the ingredients and let it cook until it reduces by half.

Bind the sauce with xanthan until obtaining a semi-thick texture, to create a glaze on the plate.

Step 06

Cassava with garlic sauce

Boil the cassava until cooked and chop it into small cubes; set it aside. Brunoise all the vegetables. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Bathe the cassava with a little of the sauce mixture.


Step 07


Plate the dish in the following order:

1. Coconut and curry glaze 

2. Scorched rice 

3. Yuca al mojo 

4. Crispy octopus 

5. Coriander micros and Beetroot micro 

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