Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sauteed Squid and Pineapple (Mực Xào Khóm)--serves 2

sauteed squid and pineapple (mực xào khóm)
On one of my trips to Vietnam I learned that my late grandfather liked mực xào khóm or Vietnamese sauteed squid and pineapple. It seems like an odd pairing of ingredients but surprisingly this tastes very good. You can add more ingredients to this dish. I have made it using a combination of squid, scallops and shrimp. These types of seafood cook quite fast and they tend to be tough and tasteless if overcooked. For the vegetables I have added red and orange bell peppers to the pineapple slices for extra vitamins and a prettier presentation. Here is a dish in loving memory of Ah Con (my late grandfather)--a man who was cherished and loved by his family, friends, the people in his village and those who worked for him. He was generous, kind, and a hard worker with many talents. I miss him dearly.

my grandfather (middle) and his coffee drinking buddies (Vietnam, 2007)
The whole squid was cleaned and kept frozen in the freezer. Frozen squid keeps its texture and taste. I thawed and cut open each whole squid with a pair of kitchen scissors. I scraped the inside with a knife and scored the inside to help tenderize it. Once done I massaged them in some salt and rinsed them clean. Please check out my previous blog post on How to Clean Squid (I caught those squid myself). The squid for this post came from New England Fishmongers. To learn how these squid were caught please check out Amanda Parks's Adventures at Sea--squid dragging off Nantucket for the story. Thank you Amanda, New England Fishmongers and F/V Rimrack

sauteed squid and pineapple (mực xào khóm)
Sauteed Squid & Pineapple (Mực Xào Khóm)--serves 2


2 Tbsp oil (whatever you prefer--olive, vegetable, canola)
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
2 large garlic cloves, smashed, chopped
About 1 Tbsp grated ginger
1/8 of a pineapple, thinly sliced
1 lb squid, cleaned, scored the body and cut into bite size
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
A pinch of sugar (optional)
About 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp water mixture to thicken the liquid/sauce
About 2 Tbsp of chopped young cilantro, may add more if interested


1) Heat a large pan over high heat. Add oil.
2) Add onion, garlic and ginger. Saute about 30 seconds. Avoid burning the garlic and ginger. Turn heat slightly down if needed.
3) Add pineapple. Saute about a minute.
4) Keep the heat to high and add squid. Stir a few times. Once the squid starts to curl up season with oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar.
5) Once the squid is just cooked add cornstarch/water mixture and turn off heat. Stir a few times mix evenly. Add cilantro and remove from heat.

*The young cilantro leaves with flowers come from my parents' garden. I prefer the young herbs due to more flavor and more aromatic.
*The cooking time for this dish is less than 5 minutes. The squid takes about 2-3 minutes to cook.

cleaned squid (see How to Clean Squid post)
a grater is a very useful kitchen tool

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