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Thai calamari

(Pra Muek)

2

Pretty Easy


When I lived in Hong Kong, I would frequent one of the many Chinese restaurants in Lantau Island’s Mui Wo, which was a healthy hike from my house. This restaurant was my finish line at the end of a busy day, and I would always order fried calamari as a ‘well done’ snack for myself. I’ve tried to replicate that dish because it makes the perfect treat

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Ingredients

  • 1 squid, about 200g (7oz), cleaned and slit open lengthways

  • 3 coriander roots, roughly chopped

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and roughly chopped

  • 1 pandan leaf, roughly chopped

  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 1⁄2 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 5 tablespoons cornflour

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 475ml (16fl oz) vegetable oil, for deep-frying

  • Sweet chilli sauce (see separate recipe) or steamed rice, to serve

  • For the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1⁄2 green pepper, cored, deseeded and sliced

  • 1⁄2 onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped

  • 2 lime leaves, roughly torn

Method

  1. Open the body tube of the squid out flat and score the inside of the flesh in a diamond pattern.
  2. Cut into diagonal slices, then pat the squid pieces dry with kitchen paper and set aside.
  3. Coarsely pound together the coriander roots, lemongrass and pandan leaf using a pestle and mortar. Set aside.
  4. Mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar in a bowl.
  5. In another bowl, mix the cornflour and beaten egg, then add this to the soy sauce mixture.
  6. Stir in the coriander root paste and mix in the water to make a batter. Add the squid pieces, mix to coat well and set aside.
  7. To make the topping, heat the oil in a frying pan set over a medium heat, add the pepper, onion, chilli and lime leaves and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  8. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok.
  9. When the oil is hot, add the squid pieces one by one and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes until golden and crispy (you may need to fry the squid in batches).
  10. Drain on kitchen paper, top with the vegetable mixture and serve hot with sweet chilli sauce or rice.

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