Regional flavors have arrived folks! In our culinary sophistication we have finally made it past such illusory categories as “Chinese” or “Indian” food to embrace regional cuisine. In a country as vast as China, we have finally acknowledged that people eat very differently in the various parts of the land. This particular dish belongs to a category of homestyle Szechuan cooking known as xiao chao, meaning “small fry.” Szechuan food happens to be my favorite kind of Chinese as it is known for its use of hot chilies. Though this dish is not mouth-numbingly hot, it does have that amazing combination of tastes–sweet, savory, spicy–for which much Asian food is known. It’s also incredibly simple to put together and involves very few ingredients, making it a perfect candidate for Pan Asian.
1 lb. (500 g) fresh squid, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon oil
5-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2-inch piece of ginger, cut into matchsticks
2-3 red finger-length chilies, sliced
3 spring onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
5 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch lengths
salt to taste
2 teaspoons rice wine
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sweet black soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
- Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Wash and clean squid, cutting out hard beak, and removing the outer skin. Cut into bite-sized pieces and dry thoroughly.
- Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and chilies, and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Increase heat to high, add spring onions, celery, and squid, and stir-fry foe 1 minute. Add sauce and stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes. Remove to a platter and serve with steamed white rice.