Monday, February 21, 2011

Squid Memories

Seafood was not big in our house when I was a kid, so when I started hanging out with my late friend Jon Paul , I was constantly fascinated with the seafood stir frys, stews, and soups that he and his partner Wende would dish up for us after a night of street outreach for the needle exchange program that we worked with in Philadelphia. Tentacles, legs, sometimes even eyes would be floating around in the bowls he would hand me; the food they prepared was always delicious. I rarely work with that kind of seafood, but I picked up some fresh Long Island calamari at the farmer's market this weekend, and tried this recipe. JP passed away a few months ago, and this dish brought back fond memories of him.

Thai Calamari with Chili

1 pound calamari (squid)
1 medium onion
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
3 fresh red chilies, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Cut the calamari into chunks; leave the tentacled ones the way they are. Slice onion from top to bottom to form curved strips. in a skillet cook onion, garlic, and chilies in oil till onion is almost tender. Add calamari and cook for a few minutes or till they curl and become tender. In a bowl stir together fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, water, and cornstarch. Add to skillet. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.

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