Masala Squid or Spicy Squid Curry
I don’t remember where I had tasted squid for the first time. Most probably in Goa. If it is Goa, then most probably at Brittos since their seafood platter had some amazing dishes (shrimp cocktail, stuffed crab, fish and chips, butter garlic squid/calamari). I recall our trip to Goa with my parents and aunt’s family back in 2008 where I was assigned the task of ordering lunch. Obviously, I tried to show off a bit and rattled off a number of ‘local’ dishes with the air of someone who had Goan food every other day. Partly true - there was a small family-run restaurant near my office serving authentic Goan food at nominal rates.
Anyways, I had included a squid dish amongst others for lunch. My aunt was a bit baffled at this and quietly asked me what a squid was. Now I am very bad at explaining stuff. I rolled around several descriptions in my mind and finally came up with “It’s a kind of octopus.” My aunt recoiled in horror and relayed the answer to her sister (my mom). Both the ladies looked perfectly aghast at the thought of having an octopus-like creature. Before I could remedy the damage done, the squid dish was plunked in front of us.
Ma took a look and I think it appeared quite harmless to her and not something she had imagined. She took a spoonful and was met with a disbelieving remark from my aunt, “Bhonti! You are having that?” Ma bit into a squid ring. “It’s delicious!” she told Jethai. “You should try it, too.” My poor aunt felt quite betrayed and her disapproving face is what I remember whenever we have squid. I don’t think I have used the word ‘octopus’ for squid since then. “It’s a type of seafood,” is what I go by now.
I have made squid a couple of times at home, mostly with garlic, pepper and butter. This time the husband decided to cook and it turned out really well. Here’s the recipe.
Masala Squid or Spicy Squid Curry
250 grams squid, cut into rings
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon, ginger juliennes
1 tablespoon thinly sliced pieces of coconut
½ teaspoon each of turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup coconut milk
Salt to taste
Refined oil for cooking
Heat a little oil in a pan or kadai and stir fry the squid rings with a pinch of salt on high heat. Do not fry for long, otherwise the squid may turn tough and ‘elasticky’. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
In the same pan, heat some more oil and splutter the cumin seeds. Then, tip in the chopped onion, green chillies, coconut pieces, ginger and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Next, add the spice powders (turmeric, cumin, coriander) and stir well.
Now, add the chopped tomatoes, sprinkle some water and cook till they turn mushy. Slide in the fried squid rings and mix well with the masala.
Next, pour in the coconut milk, add salt and let the curry simmer for 2-3 minutes before switching off the gas. And done, it is!
The squid was really tender, interspersed with the crunchy bits of sweet coconut, and we finished the dish in no time with some steamed rice. I think this is a very conventional tasting recipe and a ‘stepping stone’ towards enjoying squid if you are a bit squirmy about trying out new seafood. So, here’s wishing you a happy food adventure!