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
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!)