With around 3000km of coastline, seafood is an important part of the diet in many regions of Vietnam. Squid fishing is a common night-time activity in areas along the coast, and on islands such as Phu Quoc. It is prepared in a number of ways, including marinated, braised, grilled, fried, dried, and in salads. Its tubular body also makes it ideal for stuffing. This recipe uses a pork mixture, which is also used to stuff various other Vietnamese foods, from tomatoes to winter melons. Serve as an entree or as part of a banquet.
- 6 squid (about 720 g) cleaned, skin removed, tentacles removed in one piece and reserved
- 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce (nuoc cham)
- 2 red bird’s-eye chillies, finely chopped
- 3 spring onions, white and green parts separated, finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp grated palm sugar
- coriander and mint sprigs, to serve
- 4 dried wood ear mushrooms (see Note)
- 30 g cellophane noodles
- 500 g minced pork
- 1 tbsp grated palm sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make pork stuffing, soak mushrooms and noodles in separate bowls of hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Drain. Thinly slice mushrooms, removing and discarding tough centre rib. Using scissors, cut noodles into 1.5 cm lengths. Set aside.
Knead minced pork in a bowl with ½ tsp salt until smooth. Working in 2 batches, gather a ball of mince and throw it back into the bowl, repeating for 2 minutes to tenderise pork. Add sliced mushrooms, noodles and palm sugar, combine and set aside.
Working with 1 squid at a time, place 2 tbsp pork stuffing into each squid tube. Make a small slit widthwise near the tip of each squid tube to release air and to allow filling to extend to tip of squid, then push filling to the end. Replace reserved tentacle at open end and secure with a toothpick. Place in a steamer over a pan of simmering water and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.
Heat a frying pan over high heat. Add fish sauce, chillies and the white part of spring onions and stir to combine. Add tomatoes, sugar and 80 ml water. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until tomatoes have softened. Add green part of spring onion and squid. Cook, turning, for 5 minutes or until squid is light golden and covered in sauce.
Slice squid and serve with coriander and mint sprigs.
•Dried wood ear mushrooms are available from Asian food shops and selected supermarkets.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 14, pg67.
Photography by Armelle Habib