This is a really simple dish that relies upon the freshest squid you can find. Thai people love their grilled seafood but for my taste, they tend to overcook it and this runs the risk of toughening the squid. I prefer to cook mine quickly on the charcoal grill, with a splash of coconut cream that caramelises and enhances the flavour during cooking.
- 1 medium squid or cuttlefish (about 200 g)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) coconut cream
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves nam jim sauce
- 1 coriander root, scraped large pinch of salt
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3–5 Thai green bird’s eye chillies (scuds)
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp fish sauce, or more to taste
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.
Clean the squid but leave the skin on, then cut into large bite-sized pieces. Marinate in 2 tablespoons of the coconut cream while you make the nam jim.
To make nam jim, pound the coriander root and salt in a mortar and pestle until a fine paste forms. Add the garlic and chillies and pound until quite coarse. If you pound the chillies up too much, the sauce will become far too hot. Stir in the sugar, lime juice and fish sauce. The sauce should be hot, sour, salty and sweet, so adjust if necessary.
Grill the squid for 1-2 minutes, turning half way through cooking and drizzling with the remaining coconut cream as you go. Serve sprinkled with the coriander leaves and a bowl of nam jim sauce on the side.