The smell of seafood is the aroma of umami. It is a bit off putting for some but an allure for others. Growing up in Asia, the smell is very familiar, interesting and appetizing.
It is the smell of home that I miss as I can't cook fried seafood as often as I like. Yet, on special days I allow myself to enjoy a fry up.
Squid balls are one rank higher than fish balls because they are made of squid rather than generic fish meat. This homemade version is made of purely fresh ingredients, unlike the ones sold in the streets.
The squid I used here is the large squid tubes usually sold frozen and headless in Oriental supermarkets. Squid has a very mild taste and firm texture. When pureed, it forms a creamy paste which is the perfect vehicle for spices and seasonings.
This is not the bouncy store bought squid balls but a lighter, more flavoured, puffy version. The texture results from cooking the balls in boiling water prior to frying. A few minutes work results to these delicious morsels that are perfect as snacks or appetizers. Pair them with sweet and sour or sweet chilli sauce to complete the taste.
400 gms. of large squid tubes, cut into pieces
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 c. of roughly chopped spring onions
1/2 red chilli pepper, chopped roughly
2 tbsps. sherry
1 tsps. sugar
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 egg white
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsps. corn flour (corn starch)
2 tbsps. plain flour
cooking oil for frying
Put all of the ingredients, except for the cooking oil, in a food processor. Blitz until the mixture forms a very smooth paste.
Heat up a pan of water. When the water come to a boil, drops spoonfuls of the mixture in. Boil for about 2 minutes until it floats to the top and is all puffed up. Transfer to a colander.
Transfer the balls to a tray lined with kitchen paper to dry it out.
Heat up a pan of cooking oil for shallow frying.
Drop the cooked balls a few at a time and cook on medium low heat until golden and puffed. This will take about 5 minutes. Undercooking will result to mishapen and flat puffs.
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