Many people find the rubbery texture and the tentacles of octopus repulsive and they won’t dare to eat is. That is a great shame, because you can find many ways to prepare squid. Stir-frying, grilling, caramelizing, steaming, drying, it’s all possible with squid. With each cooking technique the squid gets a completely different taste and bite, and the unsightly tentacles are a delicacy.
You can choose large or medium squid tubes and small squids to prepare the Vietnamese squid dishes. Don’t forget the tentacles. You can clean the small squids by pulling the speckled upper skin and pulling out the hard transparent core. Scraping out the body is not always necessary.
Muc xao | Stir fried squid
This recipe is a very simple stir fry dish with only squid, tomatoes and onions as basis. You can add any other vegetables that you like. I always tend to spice up fish and seafood dishes, therefor I make good use of the neutral chilies, but Sriracha chili sauce also works very well with squid.
- 300 g squid (small or large), in rings or slices
- 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced stems and store the leaves
(vegetables to taste, such as cucumber without seeds, leaf celery, other leafy vegetables, etc.)
- 150 g or a quarter of a fresh pineapple into bite-sized pieces (remove the core because they may taste bitter)
- 2 onions, cut into wedges
- 2 spring onions, cut into large chunks
- 1 chilli, sliced (seeds removed for less pit)
- 1 garlic, sliced
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- little bit of fish sauce (optional)
- ground black pepper
- Add the garlic and a slice of onion in a pan with hot oil. Fry until you smell the garlic.
- Add the squid to the pan. Stir until the glassy octopus turn almost white. Add the sugar, salt and black pepper.
- Put the pineapple, onions, celery stalks and tomatoes to the pan and stir well.
- Once the tomatoes are softened, add the spring onion and the celery leaves. Sprinkle a few drops of fish sauce. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and sugar.
- Turn off the heat and sprinkle the chilli over the vegetables and stir one more time.
Goi muc | Squid salad
A nice fresh dish with crispy vegetables and fragrant herbs.
- 300 g squid, rings or slices depending on the squid
- ½ carrot, julienned
- ½ cucumber (seeds removed), in slices
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- coriander leaves
- mint leaves
- Thai basil
- 1 chili
- roasted peanuts, chopped
- vinegar dressing for the vegetables: mix 175 ml of vinegar, ½ tbsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar (you can store the left over for other purposes)
- use the basic fish sauce dipping as dressing over the salad
- mix for salad dressing: 4 tbsp fish sauce, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp sugar, 120 ml of hot water, 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 chopped bird’s eye chilli
- Add the carrot, cucumber and onions in three separate bowls, each with 2 tablespoons vinegar dressing. Store the vegetables in the refrigerator.
- Blanch the squid about 2 minutes and leave it to cool.
- Gently squeeze the vinegar dressing from the carrot, cucumber and onion. For example, in the vegetable centrifuge.
- Mix all vegetables with salad dressing (amount to taste) in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the fresh herbs over the salad.
- Garnish with the roasted peanuts.
Muc kho | Caramelized squid
A classic dish, very tasty with white rice.
- 300 g whole small squid with tentacles (the plastic-like core removed)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- ½ onion, cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp caramel sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ground black pepper
- Heat some oil in a pan and fry the garlic briefly. Add the whole squid and stir well.
- When the squid get rosy add the fish sauce, sugar and caramel sauce and stir well. Try alternating high and low heat to intensify the brown caramel color.
- The squid gets a deeper brown color. Sprinkle the onion and some black pepper over the squid.
- Reduce the liquid slightly until the desired caramel color is achieved.