Spicy Stuffed Squid

There are many things I love about being back in Korea, but as a food blogger who enjoys working with different ingredients, one thing stands out most: the seafood. The large chain grocery stores and outdoor markets have provided me all the seafood ingredients that I sorely missed back in the States. To name a few, I particularly like working with octopus, squid, any type of shellfish, shrimp, abalone, and plenty of fish varieties. Needless to say, many of my future posts will be seafood-oriented since my stay in Korea is probably numbered.

On this particular day, I decided to work with a whole squid that, until I got home, didn’t realize it was not degutted (definitely a miscommunication thing between me and the ajumma worker). Instead of dreading the prospect of touching guts and internal organs, I took this as an opportunity to hone my knife-cutting skills. Luckily, the insides were removed with minimal effort and basically came out whole with a few precision cuts. I was told you could pull the head to remove the guts but mine wouldn’t bulge. FYI, most grocers carry squid that have been cleaned and ready to use, which will cut prep time by a considerable amount. Besides prepping the squid, the rest is relatively easy as you just need to stuff it with the mashed potato filling and pan-fry on the stove top. If you’ve read previous posts, we had a 20 lb box of potatoes to use up, so we have been using them in most, if not all, our dishes. Fortunately, they worked perfectly with this recipe and affirmed my belief that potatoes are, in fact, the most simple but yet dynamic ingredient out there.

Like most cooking “experiments,” I learned a few tips that will undoubtedly help me in the future. First, DO NOT boil squid. Boiled squid will result in a very chewy, rubber band-like texture, which is not very tasty unless you like eating rubber. Second, rather than pan-frying the squid on the stove top (not an easy task believe me), cut the squid into rings and individually pan-fry them. This will give the rings a nice combination of flavors and texture. However, if you have access to an oven (which sadly I don’t), I highly recommend you bake the squid to get it cooked evenly.  Lastly, do not try to cook multiple recipes at once. As I mentioned earlier, I was working on several dishes using the excess potatoes we had, and consequently, I forgot to remove the extra potatoes after boiling them. The final result? A filling that was a very bland mash despite adding diced tentacles n green onions to the mix. Although it was a simple mistake, it had me scratching my head while asking myself several times, “What the hell are you doing?” Oh, the joys of cooking.

“The worst food you’ll ever eat will probably be prepared by a ‘cook’ who calls himself a ‘chef.’ Mark my words.” ~ Alton Brown

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I usually purchase squid that’s been de-gutted, but the ajumma at the local market surprised me with this big guy.
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There’s nothing pretty about de-gutting a squid. Cut a slit up the cavity and make sure to get all the insides out. Save tentacles for the filling. Rinse remaining squid under cold water afterwards. FYI: it’s possible to pull the entire organs out by tugging on the head, but it didn’t work with this guy.
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A little gross I know, but this is what you need to remove from the squid cavity. Make sure to take out the very sharp quill.
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Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes with a little bit of salt. FYI, you do not need this many potatoes for the recipe. I was making potato salad so I decided to cook them in bunches.
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To make the filling, mash the potatoes with the diced up squid legs and some green onions. But do not use this many potatoes! I forgot to take out the remaining spuds for my other dish.
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Here is the sweet n spicy sauce that will be brushed on the stuffed squid. It contains some gochujang, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and tad bit of mayonnaise.
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Looks kind of medieval with the skewers sticking out, but that’s the only thing I had to work with at the time. In hindsight, I would have sewn the pieces together (a la samgyetang) with a yarn and needle.
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If you have extra tentacles, don’t be afraid to pan-fry them as garnish or a side snack.
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Make sure to coat with the sauce and slowly pan-fry until slightly charred. This step should take about 15 minutes at most. A conventional oven would be ideal in these situations, but sadly ovens are hard to come by in Korea.
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I have to remind myself that this is not a lobster tail, but the resemblance is surprising to say the least.
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Here is the next day’s leftover that we pan fried to get some extra crunch and texture to.

 

Spicy Stuffed Squid
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: Contemporary Korean
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 whole squid (degutted highly recommended)
  • 2 potatoes, mashed
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1 olive or canola oil
  • dash of salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut off the tentacles from the body of the squid. Chop the tentacles into small pieces and reserve for the filling. Remove the head and internal organs, including the sharp quill, by cutting a slit up the body of the squid. Rinse under cold water and set aside.
  2. Peel and then boil potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes. Remove to a mixing bowl and add the chopped tentacles and diced green onions. Mix and mash for the filling.
  3. Stuff the squid with the potato filling and seal ends with wooden picks or sew with noodle and yarn. Do not overfill the squid.
  4. Add a little bit of olive oil on a non-stick frying pan, heat set at medium. Place the squid on the pan and brush on the sauce, slowly turning every few minutes to cook through. Repeat several times until squid becomes slightly charred, about 10 minutes total. (If you have an oven, the whole squid can be baked at 350 degrees F for 15~20 minutes while applying the sauce every 5 minutes)

 

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8 Comments

  1. May 8, 2014

    this squid is marvelous, i love squid alot and yours look so good.

  2. May 8, 2014

    thanks, i appreciate the kind words. honestly, i boiled the squid first and learned the hard way how chewy it can get. luckily, a quick pan-fry turned it back to normal. ^^

  3. May 9, 2014

    really, to me i love to cook but always scared to make rubbery squid. now ur recipe can help those who love to eat and want the best result of the squid, thanks for sharing ^_^

  4. May 9, 2014

    you’re welcome. i hope your squid turns out well. ^^

  5. May 9, 2014

    Jason, nice try for the first time!
    Next time try not to split open the tube, so you will need one toothpick instead of one box of it.
    Steaming the stuffed squid(you don’t need fancy steamer, colander will do nicely) also prevents it getting rubbery 😉

  6. May 9, 2014

    Thank you for the advice. Actually, I’ve worked with it several times but never the whole version like this. And yes, I desperately tried not splitting the body but the head would not come out. ^^ Have you tried squid by steaming? I’ve had it boiled n steamed yet it always comes out rubbery n chewy.

  7. May 9, 2014

    Yes, I did try steaming it actually, as it was another method after deep frying to get it right.
    The secret is in timing-one only needs to steam the squid for 8-10 minutes until it turns opaque.
    There is no need to worry about inside-the-meat temperature, it’s not a turkey breast after all 😉

  8. May 9, 2014

    That’s great yours turn out so well via steaming. I think I’m gonna stick to deep frying and pan frying for future recipes. ^^

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