Stuffat tal-Qarnit and Qarnit bl-Aljoli Recipes

There are plenty of seafood recipes to choose from but perhaps when it comes to cooking octopus, options are somewhat limited. The Maltese people have been enjoying these two octopus meals for years. Why not try them yourself and see how you like them?

The first octopus recipe is incredibly easy to prepare. Bet you never thought cooking octopus was this easy! The second one is not too difficult either, it just takes a little more time to prepare. 

maltese octopus recipes

Qarnit bl-Aljoli (Octopus with garlic)

Some people get stuck in a rut when deciding on how to cook fish and octopus. Here are two octopus recipes that you can add to your menu when you feel like cooking something different. 

Octopus with Garlic (in Maltese: Qarnit bl-Aljoli)


250 g (or 8.81 oz) octopus

5 cloves of crushed and chopped garlic

1 bunch of finely cut parsley

1 tablespoon olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Black pepper


Clean and cut the octopus up into 2cm bits. Place it in a pot over a very low fire and stew it for about an hour. If you see that it is getting too dry, just add a little hot water or white wine.

Drain the cooked octopus and mix well in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Keeps well in the fridge.

Note: Octopus cooked in this way is usually eaten as an appetizer with drinks. Some bars in Malta offer this appetizer with beer or wine. Serve with your favourite selection of fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, lettuce, black olives, etc.

Octopus Stew (in Maltese: Stuffat tal-Qarnit)


1 kilo (or 2 lb and 3.27 oz)) octopus

6 medium sized onions (chopped)

6 tomatoes (peeled and chopped)

6 large potatoes (cut in thick slices)

8 cloves of garlic (crushed)

8 olives (stoned and chopped)

1 tablespoon capers

A few leaves of marjoram and mint

A pinch of tyme

Olive oil

¼ bottle red wine


Clean the octopus very well by turning head inside out and removing the insides. Cut away the beak and eyes. The rest is all edible. To tenderize the flesh, put the octopus in a plastic bag and beat it with a meat hammer against the kitchen table.

Cut the octopus into pieces some 5 cm in length. Rinse in salted water and allow to drain. Place the octopus in a pot over a very low fire and stew for about an hour. If you see that it is getting too dry, add a little hot water or white wine.

Fry the onions in olive oil. When they soften, add the tomatoes and garlic. As soon as the tomatoes start to soften, mix in all herbs, olives and capers. The octopus pieces should now be ready to be added to the pan. Increase the temperature to boiling and add the potatoes also. Pour the red wine, lower the heat and stew slowly until the liquid reduces considerably.

We hope that you found these two octopus recipes interesting and that you will try them out when you feel like cooking octopus.

L-Ikla t-tajba! ... Maltese for "Enjoy your meal" :)

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