Remember that great squid dish you always order at Thai restaurants? The one with the fiery Thai chilies and the awesome Thai basil. Well, with only a handful of ingredients, this dish is yours to enjoy at home anytime you want. And believe me–the fact that you made this all by yourself is going to make it taste that much better! Feel free to improvise as well. Don’t like red bell peppers or celery? Use whatever vegetables you prefer. The great thing is that previously hard to find ingredients like fish sauce and Thai basil are now available most everywhere.
And do not be intimidated by squid or any other seafood for that matter. Seafood, to me, is the easiest thing to cook because it cooks quickly. There is always the possibility of overcooking squid, which can become quite rubbery and inedible, but sloshing it around a hot wok for a few minutes is not going to accomplish this. The real key to this dish, and most Asian, wok-based cuisine, is prep. Make sure you clean and cut your squid and vegetables beforehand. Measure out your sauces and other ingredients beforehand, and keep them close to the stovetop because once you begin, this dish comes together in the blink of an eye. And it tastes so good, it will also disappear in the blink of an eye.
1 ½ lbs. fresh squid, cleaned (or 1 lb. frozen)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
1 ½ tablespoons peanut oil
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
3 tablespoons finely sliced shallots
2-3 fresh red Thai chilli peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
handful of Thai basil
1.) To clean the squid: Pull the head and tentacles of the squid away from the body; the guts should come away with them. Then remove the thin purplish skin. Slit the body open and remove and discard the transparent bony section. Wash the body under cold water and cut into thin strips.
2.) Slice the tentacles off the head, cutting just above the eye (you may also have to remove the polyp, or beak, from the center of the ring of tentacles. Discard the head and reserve the tentacles.
3.) Heat a wok over high heat until smoking and add oil. Add garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
4.) Add the squid and stir-fry for 1 minute until it starts turning opaque.
5.) Add the shallots chillis, peppers,celery, fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Toss in the basil and mix well. Remove to serving platter and garnish with fried garlic. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice.