Squid is notoriously hard to cook because its collagen-rich flesh tastes fishy or turns hard and rubbery when it’s undercooked or overcooked. In this post, I’d like to show you how to prepare squid the Chinese way and cook this easy and delicious Stir-Fried Squid in Black Bean Sauce.
While squid is a delicacy in China, the phrase “stir-fried squid” in Chinese holds a rather unpleasant connotation when used outside the context of food. When someone says “stir-fried squid”, it literally means getting fired from one’s employment.
The background story is not so intuitive if you are not familiar with Chinese culture but in a nutshell, It’s because the squid curls into tubes when cooked, that tubular shape closely resembles the shape of rolled up bed sheet, which, in old days, means packing up your personal belongs (bed sheets) and leave your job.
So, do not ever shout “stir-fried squid” to someone in Chinese unless you are at a dinner table!
Speaking of tubes, it’s important to know that pieces of squid don’t just automatically roll into pretty looking tubes when you cook it. But you are in luck today because I am going to walk you through the necessary preparation so your squid would curl up like the one in the picture above.
Always start with fresh squid. Remove the skin before you do anything else.
Then, split the squid in halves lengthwise to expose the inside.
With the inside facing up, gently score the flesh at 60 degree angle, about 1/8” apart. Remember when you score, you don’t actually cut through the flesh.
Once you reach the edge of the flesh, turn the squid 90 degrees and repeat the above process. The second set of cuts should be perpendicular to the first set. Once done scoring, cut the squid into 1”x2” strips and you are ready to go!
Does that sound complicated?
I think so too. That’s why I also made a YouTube video to demonstrate the process of preparing squid PLUS how to make this Stir-fried Squid in Black Bean Sauce dish.
As we speak, I am working on a few really exciting videos as we speak so if you don’t want to miss any new videos, please SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and switch on the notification. And also kindly give me thumbs up if you find my videos helpful.
As I mentioned in the beginning, a lot of home cooks I know are frustrated with cooking squid. When you undercook it, it’s fishy and chewy. When you overcook it, it becomes hard and rubbery with one exception – when it’s stewed for over an hour, it’s tender again. So where is the sweet spot?
It depends on the temperature and cooking method. If we focus on stir-frying and boiling only, it should take no less than 1 minute but no longer than 4 minutes. Yeah that’s a very narrow window but that’s what it takes to make a tasty squid dish.
Just as a reference, to make this Squid in Black Bean Sauce dish tender and juicy, the squid is only stir fried over high heat for a little over 1 minute after blanching. The texture will be very different if you cook for one minute longer.
Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
Total Time:20 mins