Squid, Calamari or Yao Yue
| Squid is very common in Canton and features
often in Cantonese cuisine. Whether bought from a restaurant
or cooked at home, it is nutritious and tasty. Cook
small squid for 20 seconds or no more than 1 minute.
Casserole for more than 1 hour until tender.
Purchase squid from the local wetmarket early
in the morning to ensure the best quality. Most
often these are kept in a large polystyrene box
which acts as a cheap chiller keeping them cold.
Small ones tend to be preferred for general cooking,
and are more succulent. The vendor will usually
prepare these for you, simply gutting them and
removing the innards and ink sac.
Squid are also available frozen from supermarkets,
Gut the squid if not already done and wash them thoroughly.
Place in a bowl as pictured above and leave for an hour.
This ensures they are completely defrosted and also
lets them breath. You can add a tablespoonful of soy
sauce as a marinade, but this is unnecessary.
|.Recipe 1 - Simple Baby Squid
Cut off the tentacles so that each is separate,
and then cut the body into 1 inch wide squares.
You can cut to make a diamond patter which helps
them curl and cook. Add a little oil to the wok
and add some finely diced ginger strips and a
clove or two of garlic. Stir fry on a high heat
for 1 minute before reducing the heat and adding
the squid. Add a few splashes of soy sauce if
not marinated in it, and continue to stir the
dish. Cover and cook for a further minute. Tip
contents of wok into a serving bowl and present
1. Add one teaspoon of chicken bouillon
to the wok just after you add the squid. Stir well and
add a little water. Keep stirring until a nice gravy
forms, when the dish is ready for serving.
2. Use fish sauce instead of, or as
well as soy sauce. I find this a little too fishy, but
it does work well in moderation.
3. Squid and Broccoli Surprise
As above only this time we are going to add and equal
quantity (As for the squid) of prepared broccoli florets
to the wok containing the garlic and ginger. This version
can have more garlic than above, and after flash-frying,
add one rice bowl of water. Return to the boil and then
reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and leave for 7 minutes.
Check occasionally to ensure there is always a little
water in the wok, but do not drown it!
We are aiming to have a little residue juice left at
the end of cooking, which is in 3 to 5 minutes time.
Add the squid and stir well. This time you do not need
to add soy sauce, fish sauce, or anything else. Cover
and leave to cook for no more than one minute, stirring
occasionally. Many Chinese chef's like to leave the
squid body intact for this presentation, and lightly
dice the outer surface with a sharp knife to form a
diamond pattern. Only squid is ever presented in this
The dish should now be ready for serving, so empty out
the squid and broccoli, and cover with a little juice
which contains the garlic and ginger. Serve and eat.
Recipe 2 - Barbequed Squid
I have tried many versions of BBQ's squid, many of which
were rubbery, tough, or tasteless. Here is how to make
this dish a succulent and unusual winner!
For this you need to buy the tentacles of large squid
only, and these can be 6 or more inches long. Prepare
them by washing under a tap and set aside to drain.
My wife sometimes dusts these with a little rock salt,
which helps retain moisture; however, this is optional
and better done once you are familiar with the recipe
and cooking style.
Make a thin batter by mixing flour and water in a ratio
of 2 parts flour to 3 parts water. Thin if too thick,
we want this quite runny.
Dip the squid in the simple batter mix and allow to
drain so much of the batter drips off. Roll in a combination
of breadcrumbs and chilli powder and place in a wok
containing a couple of tablespoons of high temperature
oil preheated to very hot. Stir fry until the batter
turns the yellow side of golden and serve. Cooking time
should be about 1 minute, and no longer than 2 minutes
- otherwise you will have a lot of chewy squid.
Very similar to above, but this time we will not make
a batter mix. Instead we are simply going to beat an
egg with a hint of salt and pepper. Then dip the squid
into the egg and allow to drain until it stops dripping.
Sprinkle with flour and chilli powder mixture and flash-fry
in hot oil for less than 2 minutes, as above.
In both these recipes the squid is covered by a thin
coating (Batter or egg), so retains moisture, which
in turn keeps them tender for eating.
Recipe 3 - Dried Squid
This is the simplest thing imaginable. Simply
take one or two large dried squid and toast for up to
1 minute per side. Serve whole to table accompanied
by a small sidedish of soy sauce into which you have
added 1 inch of Wasabi from a pre-prepared tube (Sold
in any supermarket). Be careful - Wasabi is very hot!
Squid with Chilli
Peppers and or Blackbean Sauce
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