Clay Pot of Chilli Squid and Noodles


serves 4
675 g (1 1/2 lb) fresh squid
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
3 slices fresh root ginger, finely shredded
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 carrot, finely sliced
1 celery stick, diagonally sliced
50 g (2 oz) sugar snap peas, topped and tailed
5 ml (1 tsp) sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) chilli bean paste
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) chilli powder
75 g (3 oz) cellophane noodles, soaked in hot water until soft
120 ml (4 fl oz) 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
15 ml (1 tbsp) soy sauce
15 ml (1 tbsp) oyster sauce
5 ml (1 tsp) sesame oil
pinch of salt
coriander leaves, to garnish


1. Prepare the squid. Holding the body in one hand, gently pull away the head and tentacles. Discard the head; trim and reserve the tentacles. Remove the transparent "quill" from inside the body of the squid. Peel off the brown skin on the outside of the body. Rub a little salt into the squid and wash thoroughly under cold running water. Cut the body of the squid into rings or split it open lengthways, score criss-cross patterns on the inside of the body and cut it into 5 x 4 cm (2 x l 1/2 in) pieces.

2. Heat the oil in a large clay pot or flameproof casserole. Add the ginger, garlic and onion, and fry for 1 - 2 minutes. Add the squid, carrot, celery and sugar snap peas. Fry until the squid curls up. Season with salt and sugar, and stir in the chilli bean paste and powder. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside until required.

3. Drain the soaked noodles and add them to the clay pot or casserole. Stir in the stock or water, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Cover and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the noodles are tender.

4. Return the squid and vegetables to the pot. Cover and cook for about 5 - 6 minutes more, until all the flavours are combined. Season to taste.

5. Just before serving, drizzle with the sesame oil and sprinkle with the coriander leaves.

These noodles have a smooth, light texture that readily absorbs the other flavours in the dish. To vary the flavour, the vegetables can be altered according to what is available.

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