Fragrant Pan Fried Squid Paste 香煎魷魚滑
By Ellen L.Published: 2015-01-24
Ah, the mysterious creature of the deep, the delicious squiggly squid! The stuff of legends, sailors of old telling tales of ginormous squid rising wrathfully from the seas to shallow them whole, boats and all. Did you know that the giant squid is a real creature, growing up to the size of 30-60 feet (13-20 meters)!! It's true, they really exist and I'll bet they're super yummy too, if ever I get a chance to snack on a bit o' giant tentacle. For now , though, I'll have to be content with the wonderfully fresh squid that we can find at the wet markets in Hong Kong and especially, especially with our latest yummilicious discovery, the amazingly scrumptious freshly made squid paste that one can find at selected wet market stalls. It's really fabulous that they did all the hard work of making the squid paste already (so fresh too!) and you can just pick some up and TA-DA!!, just like that, a drool worthy, super easy to make and yummilicious dish, the Pan Fried Squid Paste 香煎魷魚滑!
|The ship Alecton attempts to capture a giant squid off Tenerife in 1861. |
Illustration from Harper Lee's Sea Monsters Unmasked, London, 1884.
But then I have not yet done the magnificent squid paste justice! Let me just say that every time my little girl and I pass by our favorite squid paste vendor at the wet market we both start drooling and I have to work hard at restraining myself from buying some of this squid paste everyday. Because I would eat this everyday, yes I would! It's so tasty and so easy to make! (My little girl just wandered by me and the computer, pointed at my photos of Pan Fried Squid Paste and asked if we could have "that" tonight. Smile!)
The secret to the squid is to do a light slow grill or pan fry. When browned slowly and carefully over a steady fire the cooking squid releases an aroma that is almost unbearably seductive. Smart street hawkers have long known this secret and, in the old days, the food hawkers (especially in front of movie theaters) could be found grilling skewered squids to mouth watering profitable perfection! (Swooooon! If you've experienced grilled squid smell while walking down the street I know you'll swoon right along with me!) But you could drive your family and friends food crazy just the same with this homemade version, our Fragrant Pan Fried Squid Paste has that same heavenly aroma, a seductive smokiness and a buttery sea sweet squidiness. This is kinda weird but it really reminds me of the best ever bowl of hot buttered popcorn that I've ever had, minus the squidiness, of course . And just like with that buttered popcorn, I just can't have enough of the pan fried squid paste! Ahhh!! It's sooo yummilicious! You're just going to have to try it!
|The fresh squid paste is in container in the middle, with pre-wrapped packages in front of it.|
Look for the squid paste at your local wet market or asian market. At the wet market look for a white goopey paste tinged with pink at the fresh seafood vendor stalls where it is usually modestly packed into a stainless steel container with a plastic sheet covering. It's not obvious, there won't be any signs, you'll just have to look around and ask for squid paste, or 魷魚滑. And, as the squid paste is handmade to secret recipes by the different stalls, you'll some find that some are more delicious than others, so try 'em all!
Fragrant Pan Fried Squid Paste Recipe 香煎魷魚滑
3/4 lb fresh squid paste (300 g)
1 1/2 tbsp oil
Heat up a flat non stick pan (we used a 10" cast iron pan ) until hot, add oil. Using a spatula, scrap the squid paste off the plastic wrap (it will be quite sticky). Once off the plastic add squid carefully to pan and immediately use spatula to evenlly flatten into approx. 1/2 inch thickness. Turn heat to medium low and let cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip the squid carefully and let cook another 2-3 minutes. Check if done by sticking a knife through. If the center is sticky/gooey let cook for another minute. Don't let the squid burn, lower the heat if it seems like it's cooking too fast. Long, slow heat is best. When done, remove to cutting board and cut into 1/2" strips. Serve hot and watch it disappear!
More Simple and Delicious Seafood Treats at The Hong Kong Cookery:
Drunken Shrimp 醉蝦
Steamed Scallops over Glass Noodle 蒸帶子
Tofu with Shrimp 蝦仁豆腐