Friday, August 29, 2008
Recipe : Squid / Calamari Chilly Fry
Don't get scared by the name. You can make this dish without the chillies too.
I had some squid in the refrigerator and was feeling very homesick and wanted to eat something that reminded me of home
Not the regular ubiquitous batter fried squid that is available in sea food restaurants in Egypt
So I searched online for some rough guidelines and liked the feel of the Kanava Thoran on NDTV cooks. As a Kerala speciality, I knew it would be very similar to food cooked in my home town.
The coconut in the recipe sealed the deal as I had some extra grated coconut that I had frozen from a few days ago and wanted to use up.
As usual, I modified the recipe to my own convenience.
I firmly believe that squid/calamari should not be cooked for more than 2-3 minutes, else it turns rubbery and tough.
A good squid recipe allows for the extra water that pours out of the squid to be absorbed (like this dish where the coconut absorbs the excess liquid) or it is deep fried (the sudden intense heat seals the liquid inside the squid pieces themselves) If you are trying to make a dry dish, then steam the squid first and then put the squid pieces into the cooked flavorings.
No such problem with this recipe. If you are looking for precise directions, follow this recipe
My version does not have exact amounts and I try to cook everything in one dish and make some shortcuts.
About half kilo squid cleaned and cut into pieces of your shape and size
1 largish onion - chopped
Some curry leaves
some green chillies
a handful of grated coconut
some pureed tamarind
some dried red chillies
some ground ginger
Heat the oil, when it is hot, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry chillies. this is the tempering. (If you prefer you can do this in a seperate vessel at the end and then pour it over the prepared squid. In the interest of less washing up, I have tempered it right in the beginning in the main vessel)
Add garlic, semi fry it a bit, then add the chopped onions, ground ginger and green chillies. Fry for a while, remember the onions need to be crunchy (not soft, not browned, but crunchy)to the taste at the end of the preparation.
Add the grated coconut and tamarind paste/puree and salt. You can use lemon juice instead of tamarind paste, but the tamarind paste is more authentic and earthy in this dish.
Let this cook for a while and dry up a bit. The add the squid pieces and quickly saute for 2-3 minutes.
If the squid was frozen, it may not absorb much flavour, so the rest of the ingredients need to soak into the coconut and compensate for the flavor.
You can top off with some fresh cilantro/corriander/dhaniya if you like.
Eat with hot rice and dhal.