“…At home??? In your own kitchen?!?!”

Have you ever cooked something and had people look at you oddly because of it? I never get tired of seeing people’s reactions when I make something unusual *grin* (though, yeah, getting a little sick of people’s horror over my use of spam as an ingredient. It’s salty pork product. Just like bacon. Or ham. I wouldn’t prefer it on a sandwich, but diced up in mac & cheese or fried rice, it’s amazing!)

One of my favorite dishes to cook is one that never fails to get that reaction from someone, but it is insanely easy to cook, the ingredients can mostly be found at ordinary everyday stores — though you may have to hit an Asian market, depending on how well-stocked the “ethnic foods” aisle is at your local grocery store. Publix made me grouchy when they didn’t have the best ingredient in the dish — and ohhhh is it good. I mean incredible. As in my husband’s eyes light up when he sees the ingredients out on the counter as I prepare to cook.

Friends, I give you:

Ginger-Chili Squid!!!

No, no, no, stop making the icky face! This is not your typical deep-fried, greasy, like-chewing-on-rubber-bands calamari. If you are frightened by squid, you shouldn’t be. It can be perfectly wonderful both to cook and to eat.

Okay, in all fairness, prior to jumping in to make this recipe (which I found on a food blog! Just like you are finding it today! So now you have to make it. It’s like fate), I was scared of cooking this stuff as well. I would eat it when I was at an Italian restaurant, maybe even on the occasional sashimi boat, but to prepare squid at home seemed… intimidating (sort of like phyllo dough is to me now, still to this day. Not difficult, just intimidating). But when I read a recipe and start to drool at the thought? And then I see that it will take me 10 minutes, tops? It had to be attempted, and I’m oh so glad it was.


  • – about 1 lb of squid (the fish market should have it already cleaned for you when you buy it)
  • – fresh ginger (depends on how gingery you like it; I usually use a piece about 2″ long)
  • – red chili peppers (again, this quantity depends on your preferred level of spice. I use 2, with the ribs and most of the seeds removed, and it’s probably “medium” on the spice levels)
  • – fish sauce
  • – sweet chili sauce (I use about half a jar — somewhere around 7 tbsp)
  • – 1 lime
  • – sesame oil (about 6 tbsp, though you could certainly use less if you are horrified at the thought of that much oil!)

First step, of course, is to put up some rice to cook. We’ve been using brown basmati of late, which was delicious with it, but any rice will do! So get the rice cooker cranking because you are not going to want to waste any of this sauce. TRUST ME!

Next, cut the squid into pieces, making sure to clean out any bits of cartilage that the fish monger may have missed. I generally split the tentacles down the middle and cut the body into rings about 1/2 inch wide. Dice the ginger and chili peppers.

peppers and ginger — diced and ready to go!

In a deep pan or wok, heat the oil on medium. Add ginger and lightly fry for a few minutes, stopping before it turns brown. Turn the heat up and add the squid, stirring it around for a minute and then removing the pan from the heat. Add the peppers, a squirt of fish sauce, the chili sauce, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Toss it all together until hot (no longer! Once the squid gets hot, it can go to overcooked very quickly), and you’re done!

Serve over rice. I also like to add some nice crusty bread to sop up any sauce that the rice doesn’t get, but I’m also a carb addict!



Trust me when I tell you that if you are a fan of Asian cuisine, if you like spice (though you can leave out the peppers altogether and it won’t be very spicy at all), or if you have taste buds in your mouth, you will love this. Fast, easy, and delicious.

I… er… have a confession to make. Every time I make this, my husband and I demolish the entire lb of squid — complete with rice and bread to accompany — between the two of us. The kids don’t eat it (though my eldest wants to try it next time, despite the spice level). It’s a good bit of food. And yet… there are never leftovers. It’s just that good.

Please let me know what you’ve cooked that has people shocked! I’m always looking for delicious ideas, and I’m not put off by unusual….



9 thoughts on ““…At home??? In your own kitchen?!?!”

  1. Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction when I saw what you were cooking.

    I think part of my reasoning for not venturing far from home is I know Husband won’t eat it. but… hmmmm… maybe I’ll make it when he goes out of town. Though I will have to cut down the spice (see yesterday’s post :)).

  2. Leave out the peppers altogether. The chili sauce is sweet and a little tangy but certainly not anything that would make you say “ow! spice!” That way you could get the yummy flavors!

    Think you could convince the kids to eat it?

  3. My husband loves squid, but as we live in Kansas…it’s far and between if not deep fried. He would love your recipe!

    I grew up making and eating mountain oysters. It’s a competition around here as to which farmer has the best batter, but no one can beat my Mom. She uses 7-up. I never think twice about it, but when I brought home “city” girls from college… that was pretty funny.

    • … I think you got me. Found something I’m not brave enough to try even eating, much less cooking at home! Yeah, no mountain oysters for me. The bull can keep ’em! As you said, though, it’s what you grow up with. The only mountain I saw growing up was the local landfill, nicknamed Mt. Trashmore.

      If you can find fresh squid out there in Kansas (yeah, stop laughing at me. I know it’s not likely), you should definitely try making this for the husband! It’s far better than the greasy, deep-fried stuff πŸ™‚

  4. This title looks suspiciously like the reaction you received from Abigail and I! πŸ˜€ I wonder if I could just make the sauce and put it on something else? I’ve had deep fried calamari, but it was very well disguised and I dipped it in a nice chunky salsa. All I could really taste was tomato which took my mind off of what I was really eating.

    I don’t know what makes me so squeamish about eating one thing versus another. I have no problem with crab, lobster, shrimp, and scallops, but won’t touch an oyster or mussel. Don’t even ask me to eat rocky mountain oysters, gator, snake, or turtle (I’m sure there’s a whole host of other things I won’t touch, but can’t think of them right now). I love fried chicken liver; that’s about as daring as I get. πŸ˜‰

  5. I usually get this reaction when I mention my love for New England Clam Chowder.

    OK… the chowder is obviously not all that special… I mean, Campbell’s makes it! However, the difference is not in the clam chowder itself, but in what I make to accompany it… peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

    Now you are all looking at me and saying, “What drugs are you on, Jon…because I don’t EVER want to take them!” but I just love the combination… the two just marry up very well together for me.

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