The Unorthodox Epicure (Recipe): Thai-style Squid Stir Fry

It’s safe to say that we’re all consistency eaters. We have the stuff that we love; the stuff we can handle, if necessary; and the stuff that turns stomachs in all different directions.

Unfortunately, a lot of people are missing out on some really great foods for the simple reason that their first experience was not a good one. Scallops and squid top a lot of those lists. Truth be told, properly cooked squid (and scallops) should almost melt. But most people tend to overcook them, which results in a rubbery experience.

The following recipe is not entirely Thai. In fact, it’s more of a fusion with an emphasis on some ingredients commonly found in the foods of Thailand. If you already like squid, this recipe needs to be in your file. Otherwise, it’s an excellent second-chance opportunity.

Thai-style Squid Stir Fry. Bright. Beautiful. Melt-in-your-mouth.

Thai-style Squid Stir Fry. Bright. Beautiful. Melt-in-your-mouth.

Squid Stir Fry – Thai style

Zest & juice from 1 lime
2 TB – Chile paste (Sambal Oelek)
1 TB – Brown sugar
1 TB – Fish sauce
2 tsp – Soy sauce

12 oz – Squid, cleaned and sliced
1/4 cup – Sweet red & yellow pepper, sliced
2 TB – Green onions, chopped
2 – Garlic cloves, minced

2 TB – Vegetable oil

Combine first 5 ingredients (sauce) and set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat vegetable oil to medium high. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn heat to high and add squid, peppers and green onions. Stir-fry until squid is tender and white opaque — about 2 minutes. Add sauce and combine. Remove from heat and plate immediately to stop the cooking process.

Serve with white rice or cellophane noodles. Makes 4 servings.

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  1. My husband would probably love this. Myself, not so much. I first had squid as fried calamari at a Cuban restaurant down in Florida. Everyone at the table raved about how great it was. I thought it tasted like crispy rubber bands. I haven’t touched it since (that, and food with tentacles tends to freak me out a bit!).

    • adamjholland says:

      Oh, Rachel. Tentacles, hooves, horns, scales, beaks … it’s all good (unless you’re vegan or Buddhist). I remember once eating a macrobiotic meal in honor of a friend of mine who had beaten colon cancer. The soup was delicious — until I mentioned the ‘spinach’ in the soup and was quickly corrected (it was seaweed). My lungs immediately tightened up and I was suddenly more interested in eating Pizza Hut. I asked my friend how the hell he could eat something that washes up on the beach and smells like funk. He told me to think of them not as that, but as ‘sea vegetables.’ Suddenly, I didn’t have a problem with it. —— When you eat calamari, you aren’t eating that gargantuan beast from ’20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.’ And if they are cooked properly (quickly), there is no rubber band. I promise.

  2. My first experience with squid was deep fried, with a spicy, crispy panko coating, at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Fran. I was smitten from the start. Then, about 2 years ago, we were celebrating my birthday at one of the 3 authentic Italian restaurants here in Appleton. I ordered a steamed calamari salad. The naked tentacles sort of weirded me out, but that was the least of my problems. After placing it into my mouth, I realize that it was the most ungodly awful, overcooked squid I had ever tasted. In fact, it was so inedible, I nearly upchucked it back onto the plate.
    I’ve been sticking to deep fried since that day, and I’m perfectly content with that decision. Your dish does sound fabulous, though!

    • adamjholland says:

      Deep fried is an excellent way to cook something that cooks very quickly (i.e. squid). But it’s not the only way. I don’t like eating rubber bands any more than the next guy. Give this a try. Change the spices if you wish, but know that a flash-stir fried squid is wonderful.

  3. I do love squid and scallops; though I am all for second chances!

    • adamjholland says:

      Without second chances … Let’s just say that I’d probably not be able to write my life story here.

  4. Love this recipe! I like fried squid but it’s a lot of troubles for cooking at home.
    I just found your blog today and I like the fusion idea. I create fusion recipes too, but not as bold as yours. Will keep following and looking forward to more creative ideas! :)

  5. I love calamari but have to confess that I don’t think I could actually handle it in it’s raw form to make a meal myself. Used to love snails…oops, Excusez-moi “escargot” until I got a bad one on a cruise one time.
    If you made this for me I surely wouldn’t turn it down Adam.

    • adamjholland says:

      Bad escargot on a cruise? Imagine that! (You should’ve read my rant before partaking in risky food like that on a boat!) — We’re going on another cruise in a few months and I’ve already decided that I’ll be sneaking on board twice as much Scotch as last time, and sticking to the hot dog buffet. — Please, Diane. Squid in raw form is nothing but a thing. Especially in that beautiful new kitchen of yours.

  6. I should have known better but it was the last night of the cruise. Unfortunately we had about a 4 hr. bus ride from docking to the airport and that was not a good time. Where will you be cruising? Twice as much Scotch…how many extra bags will you be taking?

    • adamjholland says:

      We’ll be cruising to Mexico, just like last time. (Not looking all that forward to it.) Difference is, this time we’ll be sailing from New Orleans, where we’re spending a few days. At least I’ll get some decent food opportunities on land. ;-)

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