Captain Tso Octopus

We had some fun naming this dish, as “General Tso” seemed off given the aquatic nature of the primary ingredient. That led us to ask ourselves a few questions like:

  • Was General Tso a real person?
  • If so, who was he?
  • How was the dish invented, and how did his name end up on it?

Luckily, a little perusal at the incredible work by the staff at The Food Timeline to research and compile primary sources made finding the answers to these questions a short chore!

On to the food itself! My sous chef and I were at the store, and he saw a pack of frozen Octopus in the seafood section and was enthralled. So, we bought it and immediately set it out to defrost. We agreed that we wanted to build Asian flavours, but we both had a little different vision on how we wanted to cook and plate our entrees. SO, we got two pans, and we both made our own unique creations together!

For mine, he helped me by cutting the tentacles off (leaving the long pieces in tact) and cutting up the head and mantle. We then breaded all of the pieces individually and cooked them to create a stir-fry flare. For his, he wanted to plate it like an octopus climbing over sand (second picture), so he left his whole.

The whole bread crumb thing with panko didn’t really work out, as you can see from the pictures), so we highly suggest using regular bread crumbs. However, the panko that came off of my tentacles made for a great sand feature on his plate, so not all was lost! Regardless of the breading mishap, the flavours worked really well with the octopus!

Time: 35 Minutes


  • Octopus – Fresh or Frozen…Cleaned with beak/ink sack removed.
  • Egg
  • Bread Crumbs. We used panko, and they didn’t adhere all that well, so we’d suggest regular.
  • Duck Sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Veggies of your choice. We used peas, but broccoli would be good too.


  • If using non-frozen veggies, cut them, and steam them slightly.
  • Dry your octopus with a paper towel, and place it on your cutting board. If it hasn’t been cleaned (beak and stuff inside the mantle removed), do that…we suggest Youtube for the method.
  • If cutting your octopus up, cut it into your desired pieces.
  • Crack an egg into a bowl, and beat it with a fork. Pour some bread crumbs into another bowl.
  • Dip your octopus meat into your egg to coat, and then toss in your bread crumbs, and set aside.
  • Heat a wok with some vegetable or peanut oil, and when it’s hot, add your octopus meat.
  • Sautee for a few minutes, and add your veggies to the wok. You may need to add more oil as you cook.
  • After a few more minutes, when your veggies are nice and hot (took longer for us because we had frozen peas), pour in your sauces in your desired ratios.
  • Toss to coat, and sautee for a few more minutes to allow flavours to fully combine and for your octopus to finish cooking.
  • When your meat reaches 145 degrees internal cook temp (meat will be become white…as opposed to milky/opqaue…, skin will turn deep purple, and everything will be firm), you’re good to go.
  • Plate, devour, and enjoy!


  1. The next time you try to bread anything, try flouring the object. It helps if the object is moist. Then dip it in the egg and after that in the panko or the breadcrumbs. The breading will adhere better. The reason is that the egg wash on the smooth skin of the octopus runs right off. The flour makes a first coat that holds everything together.

    1. Thank you for the tip!!! I try to avoid flour wherever I can because it gives me “club fingers” during the breading process…but I think I’ll have to grin and beat it next time!

Leave a Reply