Taiwanese Squid with Thai Basil and Ginger

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.

Wine pairing

This is great with a Gewurztraminer from Alto Adige (Italy) or Alsace.



Crème Brûlée is one of the best known and most delicious of French desserts. In this post I describe a few easy rules to make it perfectly.


13 thoughts on “Taiwanese Squid with Thai Basil and Ginger

  1. Instructions for prep: “Use the vegetable peeler or a mandoline to shave the fennel…” – fennel is an ingredient missing from the ingredients list.


  2. Want to attempt this as soon as can get good squid. Thai basil I grow: with ginger a strong flavour combo! The squid I buy looks like your medium: actually . . . . I have a tendency to leave it in bigger pieces . . . Don’t drink much Gewurztraminer but can so see it meld here: thanks !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Recipes make the best souvenirs, Stefan, and this is a good one. Well, just about any squid recipe is sure to catch my eye. I can only imagine how well the flavors of the basil, ginger, and scallions marry. Must be incredibly good!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I found your blog because of that wiener potato salad, made it last night which brought me back to wien having that schnitzel. Thank you Stefan!

    Then I had an explore around your blog, you pleasantly surprised me with my home country dish! wow! And this is definitely screaming Taiwanese, the signature “3 cup” dish, just like sweet ‘n’ sour you can have it with all kinds of meat! 3 cup dish involves soy, rice wine and sesame oil, I recommend you give them a go next time. Rice wine and sesame sauce will turn this dish up many levels. Let me know if you want a full recipe of this dish, and thank you again for the potato salad. I enjoyed it a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Celia, thanks for your very nice message! I really loved the food in Taiwan and would love to receive the “3 cup” recipe. By the way, I posted more Taiwanese recipes and there are more to come. Since I could not communicate with the chefs, all of them are ‘reverse engineered’ from my memory and photos.


      1. I found a Taiwanese cooking show for you with edited English subtitles (push the cc button if not activated) and attach recipes in the description box. Subtitles aren’t strictly after each exact sentence because of my laziness. :p But it’s sufficient. Enjoy!

        Look forward to your incoming experimental taiwanese cooking! I always love seeing aspects of Taiwanese food from different people. Really interesting. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.