Monday, 23 January 2012

Stuffed Squid Baked in Sambal Chilli

I got a squid from the farmers' market the other day, a whole fresh squid, not the chopped up rings you get in the freezer section of Tesco's. Pretty exciting. Had no idea how to clean it myself, but Susan Eats London has this brilliant tutorial.

Anyway, once you get it cleaned right, you want it coked right i.e. avoid that rubbery texture that comes from overcooking it. To do that, you can cook it really fast on high heat, like in a stir-fry, BUT the chinese translation of that ( 炒鱿鱼) also means to get fired from your job, and that doesn't seem to bode well especially around this period of time when we should be saying 恭喜发财 (gong xi fa cai i.e. "wishing you good fortune/prosperity).

So the other way to go, was to cook it really slow. Been very into stuffing things lately, see last post on cabbage dumplings, and hey, I have a whole squid, not squid rings, so why not? I saw this mediterranean-style recipe using tomato sauce that looked really good and basic, and just for a taste of home, mixed it up with the very easy recipe for stir-fried sambal tumis sotong, and there you have it, stuffed squid baked in sambal chilli.

Stuffed Squid Baked in Sambal Chilli
1 medium squid, cleaned and tentacles removed (do not throw! save for other recipes, or chop up and add to the stuffing mixture)
1 heaped tbsp sambal tumis
2-3 tbsp tamarind paste, made by soaking tamarind pulp in hot water
1/2 onion, sliced into rings
1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, or olive oil if you wish
chopped fresh coriander leaves, to serve

for stuffing
cooked rice
toasted cashew nuts
chopped coriander stalks
dash of fish sauce

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. In a medium hot pan, fry the sambal chilli paste in coconut oil till fragrant. Add the tamarind pulp and let simmer for a while to thicken.
3. Combine ingredients for stuffing. Stuff the squid with it, do not be greedy and stuff too much, the squid will shrink while cooking! Secure with a toothpick.

4. In a baking dish, place onion slices at the bottom, then place stuffed squid over, and finally, pour over the sauce.

5. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the squid is cooked through. Serve with chopped fresh coriander leaves sprinkled over.

The squid cooked this way was unbelievably tender and bouncy, making it a great wrapper around the savoury fragrant rice/nuts/herb stuffing. That, combined with the spicy, sweet and tangy sambal tumis sauce, was a delicious way to have my squid and keep my job ;)

Give fresh squid a try, it's actually in season right now, and a very sustainable seafood option that doesn't break the bank. You can also play around with it, and stuff it with anything really. Helen from Food Stories, has this sizzling one that I've bookmarked from long ago, it's squid stuffed with minced pork and thai spices, and then grilled quickly over the bbq (unfortunately, it's not exactly the right season for a bbq, but hey, no one's stopping you!)


  1. Heh - this is the third stuffed squid recipe I've seen in the last week - I never knew squids have a "season"... I suppose that's why they're popular at the moment! I'm just happy the blogosphere's obsession with pumpkin is finally over after october and november!

    I love fresh squid - it's not often I get a chance to have and I sure don't think I can get them fresh, but I'll have a look in the store when I'm shopping next. Your squids have a wonderful colour - I can imagine their fantastic flavour. My ex-girlfriend always used to tell me that it would explode if you heated it in the microwave... is that true? :s

  2. Wow... I'm drooling already just by looking at the photo & the word sambal sounds mouth watering all together!! Great post , makes me wanna rush in my kitchen & start cooking these tasty squid! Gong Xi Fa Cai

  3. This just looks utterly divine. *drool* If I cook this for hubby, he would think he'd died and gone to heaven. You're incredible! You have all these amazing tips. I've learned so much just from reading your blog. No wonder my previous stir fried squid tasted like rubber!

  4. Hi, I found your blog through Charles' tag. That's very brave of you to prepare a fresh squid. That's something I have never done. What a great recipe! Looks delicious.

  5. This looks delicious Shu Han and thanks for sharing the link to the tutorial. I always want to buy and squid but am wary about how to clean it...I've no excuse now.

  6. Oh yum, I want stuffed squid now! Imagine the various fillings you could use! :))

  7. This is the most beautiful stuffed food I have ever seen! I have already seen somewhere Spanish stuffed squid recipes, but was always afraid I would spoil the squid i.e. it will get rubbery... so I always stir-fry it or make squid rings.
    I also love your stuffing mixture! I must make it one day (although I can only have here frozen whole squid, I hope it's ok...).

  8. First, I am amazed that you cleaned the squid yourself. I don't know lot of men or woman who would want to do that. I would - but that's a different story. I think I'd use a bit of tomato sauce and some chili/garlic paste. (Don't want to buy another condiment.) You are to be admired.

  9. charles: I have never tried heating squid in a microwave so I can't help you out with that there! in fact, for the longest time, i didn't know how to open the door of the microwave oven in my flat... I don't liek to go near it, haha my mum has drilled the idea of harmful radiation from microwaves in me.

    i- thanks so much!! gong xi fa cai!!

    chocolate, cookies & candies: haha glad it helped! yup, don't overcook next time! think of it like, prawns!

    hotly spiced: welcome welcome! it really isn't difficult, look at susan's tutorial (:

    debby: yah susan's tutorial is really good, or just youtube it hehe(:

    anna: I first heard of it in a greek recipe so this must be totally up your alley! (:

    sissi: that would definitely work I think, as long as it's not already pre-chopped into rings!

    stephen: it's not that difficult really, and for anythign that you're unsure of, there's always youtube ;)

  10. This looks good, sambals makes me salivate. I've always wanted to make stuffed squid. Soon.

  11. a squid stuffed with rice and topped with sambal sauce already sounds good and you baking it seems innovative way of cooking it. Clever!

  12. This stuffed squid looks absolutely delicious! I love squid but have only used it for stir-fry so far. This will so be on my do-try list. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Hi Shu Han....

    Here's the link for the pheasant with walnut and pomegranite sauce....

    ...sorry I mixed the links up....

    Deb :o)

  14. I used to cook slot of squid and then had a couple of disasters, always using the hot and fast method. This looks utterly delicious and I'm sure would be a great recipe to get me back into the squid kitchen. : ) GG

  15. Hi Shu Han
    This is certainly new to me..never tried stuffing squid but the sauce looks so brilliant and smooth. Interesting and delciious...its an innovative dish from the normal pages I've been reading today.

  16. Shu Han! I'm so flattered that you linked to my 'cleaning squid' tutorial -- and I'm delighted that you used it to such excellent ends! This recipe looks wonderfully tasty (and I too have been eyeing Helen's recipe for stuffed squid).

  17. Stuffing squid... what a great idea! This looks mouthwatering.

  18. You just might be the bravest girl you know. I can't even imagine a whole squid. This is a beautiful meal though. Way to create something amazing from ingredients that I've never even touched before! I bet it was delicious. I love eating squid. I never once have thought about trying to do that at home though.

    P.S. Your recipe for sesame chicken turned out great! Thanks again.

  19. I love squid and often buy it whole, then chop it up and fry it. You are right it is cheap but wonderful.
    I will certainly try it like this next time I buy it, what a great idea!

  20. three-cookies: make it!! heh.

    lena: haha, i didn't want to fry squid for cny, bad omen ><

    yi: thanks, i hope you try it(: it's a nice change from stirfries!

    gg: actually simpler than stirfrying because you're less likely to overcook(:

    malli: thanks!(:

    susan: haha yes she has quite a few! all of them I bookmarked (:

    kyleen: thank you!

    mary: a whole squid just looks like a.. little edible pouch (minus the tentacles). it looks less scary than....a prawn, which has eyes and feelers and legs and shells.haha. YAYY will pass on the message to my mum(:

    laura: thanks laura, it is great, one of th emost sustainable and abundant seafood options out there!