4 dried Chinese mushrooms (Vietnamese pantry)
25g cellophane noodles (Vietnamese pantry)
8 small squid (about 1.5 kg in total)
300g pork shoulder, minced
2 red Asian shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 handful coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
½ tsp caster sugar
1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Dipping sauce, to serve
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.
Soak the mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes, then drain and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Chop the mushrooms, discarding the tough stems.
Prepare the noodles by immersing in hot water for 1 minute, then refresh in cold running water. Cut the noodles into 2 cm long pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors.
Clean the squid by holding the body with one hand and the head with the other. Gently pull, taking care not to burst the ink sac, and the head and tentacles will come away. Remove the clear cartilage, rinse the squid inside and out, then pat dry. Remove and discard the head. Finely chop the tentacles or mince in a food processor.
To make the filling, combine the minced tentacles, mushrooms, noodles, pork, shallots, garlic, coriander, fish sauce, sugar and pepper and mix well. Firmly pack the squid tubes two-thirds of the way, ensuring there are no air pockets. Secure the ends with skewers or toothpicks.
Heat a layer of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the squid for 5 minutes, then pierce the squid several times to release any trapped liquid. This will cause the oil to spit, so take care. Cook the squid for a further 10 minutes, turning them on occasion so they colour evenly.
Take the squid out of the pan and remove the skewers. Slice into 2cm discs and drizzle with the cooking juices. Serve with dipping sauce.
This recipe is an extract from KOTO: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam by Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl (Hardie Grant Books).
Photography by Michael Fountoulakis.