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Chinese fish and seafood

53. Homemade stir-fried squid

how to stir fry squid at home with simple Chinese recipe
Chinese stir fried squid

By the seaside here, having lots of fresh seafood is like a dream come true:) I don’t have to battle having meat any more — a picky me have always tried to avoid meat, but always have been opening my stomach to seafood.

Chinese stir fried squid: Introduction and culture notes

The original name of this dish should probably be “stir-fried curled squid” . In Chinese it is called “chao you yu juan”, squid in Chinese is called “you (2) yu (2)”, “juan” means to curl up to become a “tube”.

The name of this dish has a very interesting “metaphor” attached to it. In old days, when people looked for jobs, normally the workplace would provide accommodation — well, saying “accommodation” is more like an euphemism… it is really just a place for the workers to sleep, and all the workers had to have their own duvets.

When workers were fired, they had to roll up their own duvets and carry the duvets along with all their belongings with them to look for another job —- rolling up a duvet is like the squid curling up when being cooked, so people started using the expression “stir-fried squid” to mean “to fire someone” or “to be fired”. Ha… So if you hear people saying in Chinese they are being “stir-fried squid” , it only means they are fired, nothing to do with real food.

Ok, coming back to this dish, :) Squid is normally stir-fried in North East China , and only nowadays squid has started to be grilled or cooked into soup.

As for stir-fried squid , it can be cooked on its own, like this dish, or with other vegetables, for example, green pepper or celery are all common combinations.

In Northern China it is also very common to stir fry squid on its own . This is usually called common homemade squid dish in Northern Chinese recipe books. It is easy to make, but might take a while to prepare:

  • Slice the back of the squid to make a nice “cross pattern” — sorry I cannot really say why it is “decorated” this way, it has always been like this:);
  • Either boil or light fry the squid to pre-cook it; then, at last, stir-fry it. I boiled it first, then quickly stir fried with ginger and spring onion, it is very light, yet has all the taste.

Chinese stir fried squid: The recipe


Squid (the big and thicker ones) we normally buy them from either Chinese supermarkets or fish stores, it is normally called “squid tube”. Ginger, spring onion, salt, cooking wine, oil, light soy sauce, corn flour (for thickening the sauce)

Preparing the Squid and Ingredients

1) Clean and wash the squids (I used 2 big sized squid tubes).

2) Place the squids on the chopping board, back facing up, use a sharp knife to slice the surface of the squids (not cutting off) into “cross pattern”.

Washed squid tubes
Slicing the squid’s surface

3) Then chop the squids into around 4cm square pieces.

4) Chop a good piece of ginger, and 1 spring onion.

Chopped spring onion and ginger
Chopping ginger and spring onion

5) Prepare a teaspoon of flour in a small bowl and mix it with around 2 tablespoon of water, 2/3 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Mix everything well.

Mixing the sauce

Cooking the squid

1) Boil the squid pieces in hot water (not very long though, when the squid pieces are all nicely curled up, it is done), then remove them to a plate, and pour the water out.

Squid boiling
Boiling the squid

2) Place the wok back on fire, when the inner wok is dry, pour in around 3 tablespoons of oil.

Stir frying the squid Stir frying the squid

3) When the oil is hot, add chopped ginger and spring onion in.

4) When the smell of the ginger and spring onion comes out, add boiled squid pieces in (be careful with oil spill).

5) Then add 1 tablespoon of cooking wine, mix well with the squids.

Stir frying the squid
Adding the cooking wine

6) Keep on stirring for around further 3 minutes, add in the “corn flour mix”.

Home-made stir-fried squid
Chinese stir fried squid

When the sauce in the wok has been thickened, remove everything to the plate —
—— Done!!!

I think boiled rice is the best to go it, others might effect the original taste of the dish, as it has a very light and fresh taste. :)

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76. Chinese stir fried baby squid and celery (spicy)


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