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Tamarind squid pasta

Friday, November 8, 2013

This is a scheduled post.
I can't believe I have never posted on one of my favourite dishes, tamarind squid chilli pasta. I guess I think of it as everyday food, so it isn't so unusual that it needs to be featured. But I have posted on more mundane things before, and this really is a good, quick recipe, so why not.
If the dish looks a little yellow in the picture, that's because I had "preserved" the squid with turmeric powder. My friend Mumtaj told me about doing this when storing uncooked seafood. 
If there's time, I like to grill the tamarind-marinated squid until blackened and caramelised. That's even more delicious. But when I can't wait, it's a quick stir-fry.

Tamarind Squid Chilli Spaghetti
Serves 2

2 tbsp tamarind pulp or 1 tbsp tamarind paste
200g squid (3 medium), cut into 1.5cm rings (leave tentacles whole)
½-1 tsp sugar (preferably palm sugar)
A dash of white pepper
½-1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced into thin chips
1-2 red bird's eye chillies, minced
1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), sliced thinly (optional)
2 servings of cooked spaghetti or other long pasta (reserve about ¼ cup of the cooking water)

Pour a little warm water on the tamarind pulp. Massage to loosen the seeds and pulp. Reserve the pulp but discard the seeds and tough fibres.
Combine the squid, tamarind pulp or paste, sugar, pepper and fish sauce in a bowl. Cover and set aside for 30-60 minutes.
Heat the oil and add the garlic chips. Fry until golden and crisp. Add the chillies and lemongrass and fry briefly, then add the marinated squid. Toss the squid around until cooked (the tentacles will curl). Add a little reserved pasta water to make it saucy (ahem!), then add the cooked spaghetti. Toss together and serve.

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