Heat the oil in a small, heavy-based pot until it is almost smoking. Use a pair of tongs to carefully lower each octopus tentacle into the oil. When seared, remove the tentacle from the oil and set aside. When all the tentacles have been seared (and it only takes a few moments) lower the garlic into the oil, and then the olives and chillies. Return the octopus tentacles to the oil and lower the heat to the lowest possible temperature.
Cook for about 25 minutes, or until the octopus is tender. Be careful not to overcook, or the octopus will turn a little pasty. Use a slotted spoon to remove the octopus, garlic and olives from the oil. Allow to cool, then slice each octopus tentacle to your desired thickness.
Use the olives and garlic cloves as a garnish – the garlic is perfect for squeezing out of its skin.
Cheong Liew served this poached octopus with a salad of green leaves, avocado and soft-boiled eggs. I guess you could also poach the eggs to end up with a sort of octopus Caesar Salad. A few anchovies would certainly not go astray here.