Stuff yer squid!

*Sigh*

So, am I the most lax food blogger, or what?

Happy belated new year, dear readers. I hope you’re all having a fabulous 2010 that has so far been full of delicious food and amusing escapades, whether they be in or out of the kitchen.

Unfortunately, the reason for my rather extended hiatus from blogging is an ongoing family situation which will most likely mean that my blogging continues to be somewhat haphazard this year, but I promise that I will try my best to entice you with as many delightful dishes as possible!

Forgive me? *insert prettily cajoling smile here*

To start off with, how about this absolutely stunning recipe for stuffed squid served with a tomato sambal?

This is actually a dish that I’ve been wanting to try for a very long time, but unfortunately baby squid have been a little…well, to be completely honest – nonexistent at my local fishmongers (BAD Mr fishmonger! Tsk tsk tsk!). However, on my weekend trip to the Springvale markets, I happened to come across some at a small fishmongers that I hadn’t visited before, so I thanked my lucky stars and nabbed the whole 2 kg.

I kinda think this was one of those cases of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. But in this case, my shopping trolley…

At any rate, I eventually traipsed home with my glorious squiddy purchase, then decided to roll up my sleeves and set about cleaning and prepping the squid so that I wouldn’t lose my motivation and could jump straight into cooking.

Here’s a note – I doubt any of you are as daft as I am, but when prepping for a recipe that you haven’t read in, say, about a year or so, it’s a good idea to actually OPEN the cookbook in question and refresh your memory. I mean, I have an absolutely lousy memory at the best of times (I’m the only person I know who has actually managed to once forget THEIR OWN BIRTHDAY. That was one helluva confusing day, I tell you), so I don’t know what possessed me to think that I could actually rely on my grey matter to know what was going on.

Okay, so why the ranting about my memory?

Because in my desire to quickly prep the squid – I tossed out all the tentacles, which are actually needed for the filling. I did briefly contemplate digging them out of the bin to clean and use, but at that stage they were buried under a considerable pile of fish scales, guts, trimmed beef fat and chicken skin (grossed out yet?) so I thought better of it.

Despite my idiocy, I did actually manage to make the dish and it turned out quite fabulously, if I may say so myself. You absolutely want to serve this with the accompanying recipe for tomato sambal, as it is a perfect pairing of flavours to spoil your tastebuds with :)

Actually, let me interject with another note – the recipe will make about 12 stuffed baby squid which is plenty if they are served 3 per person, but you may want to consider making extra. I learnt this the hard way when I discovered that my mother and kid brother had snarfled almost the entire lot while I was looking for backdrops and the plate to use for my main photoshoot!

Stuffed squid with tomato sambal
(adapted from Blue Ginger by Les Huynh)

Stuffed squid ingredients
9 small-medium squid
25g bean thread vermicelli, soaked in cold water and cut into 1″/2.5cm lengths
200g lean minced pork
3 spring onions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced OR crushed
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely sliced
1/8 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
Pinch of salt and pepper

Tomato sambal ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small brown onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 thai/birds eye chillis, finelysliced (reduce to one chilli if you’re not a heat person)
3 large tomatoes, diced
3 tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)
2 spring onions, finely sliced

Coriander sprigs, to serve

Stuffed squid instructions

1. Make sure your baby squid are thoroughly defrosted before starting the recipe – their small bodies can be a little (actually, more than a little) irritating to navigate if not properly defrosted, and it also means you may be more likely to leave innards behind when cleaning them as they won’t come out as cleanly!

2. Take each baby squid and chop its head off at the base of the hood. Insert your finger (any of you thinking impure thoughts here can just stop – there was no other way of writing this!) into the hood and scoop out any and all gunk that you come across, making sure that you get every last bit. Also pull off all of the skin and the fins.

Make sure you RESERVE the tentacles by chopping them off the body, and finely dice them. Add them to a bowl with the rest of the stuffing ingredients.

3. Use your hand to make sure that all the stuffing ingredients are evenly mixed together (we don’t want any clumps of mince), then stuff each squid hood, leaving about 1.5cm empty at the end. Carefully close the end with a toothpick and set aside.

Note: Make sure that when you’re stuffing the squid, you don’t leave any air bubbles in the hood, or this can result in bursting squid and misshappen hoods :(

4. Once you’ve filled all the squid hoods, heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan (a well-seasoned cast iron job will be marvellous here, but any non-stick pan will do), and cook the stuffed squid over a medium flame, making sure to turn to ensure that they are evenly browned all over.

5. Once your squid is completely cooked (this is pork mince we’re working with so this is a must – I found that 15-20 minutes was enough cooking time for me as you also don’t want to overcook the squid), remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

6. Once the squid has been drained, remove the toothpick from the open end and slice them in half diagonally before plating onto dishes and serve alongside some tomato sambal!

Tomato sambal recipe

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic till the onion and garlic are softened and the onion is translucent.

2. Add the chilli and cook for a minute or two, then add the tomato and cook over a low flame until the tomato is soft and begins to break up. At this stage, add the tomato sauce, spring onion and a pinch of salt and cook for another minute, before removing from the heat and allowing to cool.

When plating up, garnishing the tomato sambal with some finely sliced spring onion or chives provides a nice colour contrast, and decorate the dish with either torn or shredded coriander.

[tags]squid, seafood, pork, Vietnamese, Malaysian, savoury, Asian[/tags]

Comments

  1. My goodness! So much effort but how delectable it looks. Brilliant first post for 2010!

  2. Looks actually quite simple and quick…. 45min? The sambal can make ahead and keep in the fridge? Or even can. Conserve it like jam or so? So where do I find baby squid? Sheng siong?

  3. Fabulous post!!! I can’t wait to try it! Thank you! :razz:

  4. Those are very impressive….

    take care hun.

  5. Welcome back! Wow – you brave girl trying stuffed squid! It looks fantastic. :-)

  6. Ellie! looks so delicious! Can’t wait to catch up in March when I come to visit Melbourne.

  7. this is gorgeous! mom used to make this growing up…will have to try it…the grilled flavors look fantastic

  8. Lovely to have you back! Will look forward to posts whenever you can manage them :smile:

    I actually have this cookbook and have often peeked at the recipe, but have suffered the same can’t-find-baby-squid fate as you. Good to know the recipe is doable, though, if I ever chance upon the ingredients!

  9. I love how you includes instruction for cleaning squid. I still need more practice with cleaning it successfully.

  10. @Linda Monique – Thank you honey :)

    @Michael – Not sure where you’ll find baby squid, but the sambal can definitely be made beforehand and stored in the fridge :)

    @Naoko – My pleasure :)

    @Fiona – Thanks sweetie :)

    @Krista – Thanks! :)

    @Reemski – Thanks babe :) Likewise!

    @ravenouscouple – Cheers :)

    @Hannah – Good luck finding the baby squid, hopefully you’ll luck on it like I did!

    @Cheng – Just a little practice, that’s all :)

  11. Hey there! Looks real interesting as an appetiser! But one thing I’m wondering about, how do you make sure that the squid isn’t rubbery while the pork inside is cooked through? :smile:

  12. @Gail – If you use baby squid then they don’t really go rubbery (though a bit dry if overcooked and cold). Your best bet is to cook it over a low-medium heat to ensure that they don’t burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

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