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While the stock is reducing, clean the baby octopus. Cut off the cap and slice it into a couple of rings. Cut the head from the tentacles, and cut the thicker parts of those into 15-20mm lengths. If all the pieces have similar volumes, they will cook through at about the same time. The heads could be added to the stock ingredients.
Saute the octopus, the finely diced garlic, and the rest of the onion. Put all the ingredients into one saucepan, that is the sauted octopus and onion, the diced tomatoes, star anise, Sichuan pepper, chilli paste and stock. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, when the octopus will be fragrant and very tender.
If the sauce is too thin, lift out the octopus with a slotted spoon (to prevent it overcooking), and vigorously simmer the sauce to reduce it.
Return the the octopus to the sauce, adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Serve on a mound of rice, with some blanched bok choy or other asian green.
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