While the dish is named “braised” squid, the cooking time is actually very short. Squid, like some other seafood, can be cooked very quickly until just done, or can be simmered for a long period of time until very tender. Anything in between, and the squid will be very tough, with a rubber band texture.
There are three main steps in the preparation of the dish, and it is important to understand them as the cooking time is quite short. Firstly, the squid is quickly stir fried under high heat. Secondly, seasonings and water is added to begin the braising process. Lastly, the squid is removed when it is just cooked through, and use a thickening agent (corn starch) to prepare the sauce with the cooking liquid
- 3 medium size squids
- 1.5 tablespoon grated ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-4 Chinese star anise 八角
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rock sugar
- 1 red birdeye chili, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine – Hua Diao 花雕酒
- 1 green onion/scallions, chopped
- Remove head and cut right below the eyes, keeping the tentacles intact. Remove the beak and discard. Clean out insides
- Wash and pat dry the squids.
- Heat wok over high heat and pour in 1 tablespoon oil. Add ginger and garlic, cook until fragrant.
- Add squid and lightly pan fry the squids on both sides, until the squids just turn opaque on the outside.
- Add cooking wine, rock sugar, star anise, birdeye chili, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and 1/2 cup of water.
- Bring it to boil, cook for a few minutes. Remove squids from the wok when just cooked through
- Drain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids.
- Pour the mixture in a saucepan. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 2 tablespoon of water. Bring the mixture to boil. Add the corn starch mixture to the saucepan. Bring it to boil then remove from heat.
- Let the squids sit for 10 minutes or until cool before slicing into rings.
- Pour the sauce on top of the squids and sprinkle some chopped scallions to serve.
*If you’re using a large piece of rock sugar (see the size of the sugar from picture above), remove the rock sugar when it’s half-way melted, or the sauce will be too sweet. It’s better to use the smaller piece of rock sugar that is just enough (about 1 tablespoon)