As Taiwan is an island we traveled along the coast, it is not surprising that seafood was abundant and fresh. Squid was available as street food (recipe to follow in the summer) and stir fried in restaurants. At 旗后活海產 on Cijin island of Kaohsiung, we really enjoyed the squid that was stir fried with Thai basil and ginger. I tried to make something similar back home, and was very happy with the result. Here’s what I did…
For 2 servings
500 grams (1.1 lbs) medium squid, yielding about 330 grams (0.7 lb) after cleaning, chopped
5 cm (2″) ginger
50 grams (1.8 oz) Thai basil leaves (this is not the same as Italian basil and also known as horapha)
4 scallions/green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 chilli pepper, sliced
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
4 Tbsp oil for stir frying
Prepare all the ingredients so you can work quickly. The squid should be stir fried very briefly and will become tough if you overcook it.
Use the vegetable peeler or a mandoline to shave the ginger (I peeled it first, but at the restaurant they didn’t bother). Slice the chilli pepper into thin rings. Slice the white and light green part of the scallions into rounds and the green part into pieces of about 4 cm (1.5″). Use just the basil leaves and discard the stems (again at the restaurant they didn’t bother).
Clean the squid (click here to read how), chop it into bite size pieces, and pat it dry with paper towels. In Taiwan they used medium squid (such that only one of them is enough), but here I can only get small or large squid. The small squid has a similar texture to the medium squid as used in Taiwan.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok. Add the white and light green part of the scallions, ginger, and chilli, and stir fry for a minute.
Next add the garlic and dark green part of the scallions, and stir fry for 30 seconds. Make sure the garlic doesn’t get brown.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the squid, and stir fry just until the raw color has disappeared, about 1 minute.
Lower the heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce (this has more color but is less salty than light soy sauce).
Add the basil and stir just until the basil has wilted.
Serve at once.
This is great with a Gewurztraminer from Alto Adige (Italy) or Alsace.
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