Last night I found myself once again with the urge to stuff. I buy bags of frozen baby squid either from my fishmonger or the local Asian supermarket; they’re cheap and they de-frost quickly, making them perfect for a speedy dinner.
Rather than use something soft inside like a grain I wanted to keep a bouncy texture; prawns immediately came to mind. Once minced, they bind together into a wonderful springy filling, like that of a Thai fish-cake. To increase the effect I chopped up the tentacles of the squid and added them to the mix too.
This seafood centre is studded with the extraordinary deep, salted and funky flavour of fermented black beans. I had to stop myself from eating it all pre-stuffing.
The squid would be great eaten straight from the BBQ in warmer months but last night I served them sliced over rice for a more substantial meal. A pile of steamed greens on the side is very welcome too, and adds moisture for the rice.
Baby squid stuffed with prawns and black beans
8-10 baby squid
200g cooked prawns, finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped (white and green parts)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon light soy
1 teaspoon dark soy
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 large pinches of hot chilli flakes
A few drops of sesame oil
Rice, steamed greens and extra spring onion, to serve
Remove the tentacles from the squid if still attached and chop them finely. Heat some groundnut or vegetable oil in a wok (a couple of tablespoons) then stir fry the garlic, ginger and black beans for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the tentacles and stir fry again for 30 seconds. Add the 2 soy sauces and cook for a further 30 – 1 minute. Remove from the wok and set aside in a bowl.
Mix the tentacle mixture from the wok with the chilli flakes, spring onions, prawns and lime juice. Make sure it is very well mixed.
Stuff each squid 3/4 full with the mixture. Secure the end of each with a cocktail stick. Heat a heavy based frying pan, add a little oil and fry the squid for a couple of minutes each side. You’ll need to adjust the cooking time to the size of your squid. Test they are warm in the middle by inserting a skewer into the middle.
Serve sliced over rice with steamed greens. Add a few drops of sesame oil to serve.