This Chili Basil Squid Appetizer is infused with the flavors of Thailand by pairing of chili with the aromatic pungency of Holy Basil leaves.
This dish was originally inspired by a lovely Appetizer I was served in an Indian Restaurant in Ottawa. I wanted to reproduce it, but I was stymied at the time due to the unavailability of Curry Leaves and fresh Coconut. Instead, I used slivered of toasted almond in place of coconut and I gave the dish a decidedly South-East Asian twist by using some Cock™ Brand Chili Paste with Holy Basil in the flavor base.
The Basic Method
The squid rings are cooked first by tossing them with a little flour and deep-frying them for no more than 45 seconds or so until the edges curl inward.
Almond gives a pleasant texture as well as taste to the finished dish. For best flavor, it needs to be toasted in a dry pan before use. Do this over a medium to high flame and remove from the heat as soon as you see brown spots. The almonds continue to cook from the residual heat once taken from the flame and it is very easy to overdo the toasting.
The whole spices used in this recipe are Mustard Seeds, Dried Chilies, and Cumin Seed, all of which are first fried to develop their flavors. In this case, the chili is fried the Sichuan way and allowed to darken so as to give a nice smoky finish to the dish.
Minced Onion is fried with the spices to take on their flavor and form the base for the sauce.
Tomato is added, along with a little sugar, and co0oked down to form a sauce with a chutney consistency. You will need to add a splash or two of water during this process.
Finally, the almonds are added to the pan along with the squid and everything is cooked for a minute or so longer until the squid is hot. This dish should be served immediately.
Your Recipe Card:
Chili Basil Squid Appetizer
- ¾ Cup Squid cut in small rings 1” thick
- 1 Tbsp. Flour
- 2 Tbsp. Slivered Almonds
- 1 tsp. Mustard Seed
- 4 – 6 small dried Red Chili
- ½ tsp. Cumin Seed
- ¼ Cup minced Onion
- 1 small Tomato finely diced
- 1 tsp. Sugar
- 2 Tbsp. Chili Paste with Holy Basil *See Notes
- Dust the squid rings with the flour, shaking off the excess, then quickly fry them in hot oil for 45 seconds or so. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
- Toast the Almond slivers in a dry pan until they begin to brown, then remove them from the pan.
- Add a splash of oil to the pan and add the Mustard Seed, Dried Chili and Cumin. Fry, stirring, until the Chili begins to noticeably darken.
- Add the Onion and cook until it is softened and taking on some color.
- Add the tomato and the sugar, and cook the tomato down, adding a splash or two of water as necessary, until a chutney like sauce is formed.
- Add in the Squid and the Almond, and continue cooking until all is heated through.
- Serve immediately.