One of the excellent things about being in Cambodia and living opposite a local market is the access to super fresh food every day. On any day I can wander across the road in the morning, collect any ingredients I might want for the day or evening meal, hand over a small amount of cash and go on my merry way. I will definitely miss this aspect of Cambodia when we leave!
The other week I saw some gorgeous looking squid that I thought would be delicious stuffed with some pork mince and grilled on the bbq. I have eaten the dish here a few times and its sensational and there is a Vietnamese version that I have eaten in Hoi An that I still dream of. I’ve cooked with squid plenty of times, using it for marinara dishes or stir fries, but never stuffed so I thought I would grab a few and have a go at cooking them up.
When you buy squid in Cambodia it comes with skin, guts and tentacles. This also means that you can really tell the age of the squid from the softness of the skin (it should be smooth and floppy not firm) and its eyes (clear and not cloudy). The colour of the squid is really pretty too – a speckled purple colour that I think gets removed or isn’t on squid back home (can anyone confirm this?)
Before cooking the squid in any form, make sure you clean the guts out of them. In Cambodia, the grilled squid you get from street stalls or restaurants will contain the guts…you have been warned! To clean them yourself, its very easy. Just pull the tentacles away from the “tube” of the body, and using some running water and your fingers, clean the tube out. Be gentle with the outside though as the skin will rub off easily.
5 squid tubes (cleaned and tentacles removed)
3-4 wood ear mushrooms (soaked in warm water for 5 minutes if they are dried)
4 chilli’s (diced)
3 garlic cloves (diced)
3 shallots (sliced thinly)
root and stems of handful coriander
1 small packet of vermicelli bean noodles (soaked in warm water to soften and drained)
150g minced pork
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
salt and pepper
For the stuffing, mix all of the ingredients together well and season to taste.
To stuff the tubes, you need to get a little grubby and man-handle that pork stuffing mix. Using your hands, gently push it in being careful not to push it through the sides of the squid, breaking it and causing the stuffed squid to be stuffed no more. I used the end of a teaspoon to gently push the pork meat down to the bottom, but be careful to leave enough room for the juices to get around and flavour everything up.
Once you have completed the stuffing, using a toothpick, carefully seal the ends, ready for grilling. At this point you can store them in the fridge with a few splashes of soy sauce to season until they are bbq ready.
To cook them, we used a bbq but you could cook these inside on a stove. Simply oil them with a little olive oil to make sure they don’t stick and break.
These are really great with a thai dipping sauce made with chilli, fish sauce, lime and a smidge of sugar.