Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young

I'm beginning to think I need to change the title of my blog to Wok This Way or something, for the last ten posts have been a WW recipe. One day I'll get back to cooking from the many cookbooks that I own. Maybe.

There is an ongoing joke amongst the WW members about snow peas. This is the second recipe from Chef Danny Chan where he has specified an exact amount of snow peas to use (twelve for this recipe), rather than by weight.

Using extra snow peas (as I have done here, and I know your counting them Bob - to clarify, I halved the recipe) or deviating from a recipe in other ways, has earned a member or two (or three), the chastening of wearing their wok on their heads, and the embarrassment (or not) of posting a photo of such on our group FB page.

 (photo used with permission )

The above photo reflects the punishment for a dried chili infraction; though he has also been placed on probation for a snow pea violation.

I'm thankful Danny did not make us count out the frozen peas he uses in his Hong-Kong-Style Silky Stir-Fried Minced Beef recipe. They're may have been even more of us wearing the wok!

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Garlic, scallion, fermented black beans
Bowl 2: Onion, ginger
Bowl 3: Red bell pepper
Bowl 4: Salt, pepper
Bowl 5: Dry sherry
Bowl 6: Squid (blanched), snow peas
Bowl 7: Chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce
Bowl 8: Sesame oil, cornstarch, chicken broth

The blanched squid.

I think I like cooking squid more than I like eating it. It becomes so artistic looking after its bath.

Here is a photo from an older post - showing what cleaned squid looks like, before prepping it for a stir-fry.

You need to set aside a little extra time to prepare the squid for stir-frying. If you are unable to get pre-cleaned squid as I did, here is a great tutorial on Food52 on how to clean it yourself.

After the squid has been cleaned, the tentacles are cut into bite-size pieces (I just left them whole, myself), and the bodies are cut in half lengthwise and gently scored with a crosshatch pattern on the inside, then cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. The squid is quickly parboiled for ten seconds, just until it curls; now it's ready for stir-frying.

Once the squid is prepped, this stir-fry is quick to get on the table. The beans, scallion and garlic are added to the wok first and stir-fried just until fragrant. Add the ginger and onions, stir until the onions start to wilt, then the bell pepper, and s&p is added and cooked until they start to soften. The rice wine is added and stirred in, then the squid, snow peas, and soy sauce mixture is added and tossed until the peas turn bright green. Swirl in the cornstarch mixture and stir until the squid is just cooked.

Be careful as to not overcook the squid, for it can become tough if you do. 

This was enjoyed by other members of our group, though not so much by me; sorry, Grace (said with a scrunched face). The squid came out tender, and I loved the texture of the vegetables; the flavor just did not wow me - which surprised me, for I love the taste that fermented black beans lend to a dish (as in the Stir-fried Chicken with Black Bean Sauce), and the sauce components... broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil - and garlic and ginger! I don't understand... maybe my taste buds were off this evening; or even it could have been the fact I hadn't tasted it until after it was reheated. I made it early on (an hour or so) for the best possible lighting. I reheated it ever so gently in the wok, as to not overcook the squid - I'm guessing that may have had an effect on the taste.

As I said, this was enjoyed by others in our group - if you would like to give it a go yourself, the recipe can be found at  The Global Gourmet or on page 170 of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, by Grace Young.

I think we have only eight more recipes before we are done wokking our way through Sky. But stay tuned, for there's talk about moving on with one of Grace's other books. So you can still join in on the fun ~ it's quite the lively bunch over at Wok Wednesdays.


We as a group have agreed not to post the recipes on our blogs.


  1. Cathy, No need to apologize for not loving this dish. It feels like you and your hubby have enjoyed nearly all the stir-fries in Sky. That's an incredible score for any cookbook. Great photos in this post especially the blanched squid shot.

    1. Thank you, Grace. We definitely are enjoying the recipes from your book. Thanks so much for giving us the most delicious meals at home.

  2. I LOVE this post!!!! The photo of Bob is priceless =)

  3. I love the "wok of shame" concept! I once chastened myself for increasing the number of sage leaves in an Italian recipe. I should have known better and trusted the cook's recipe. (It was almost bitter...) This looks really good and flavorful!

    1. Here too David! I thought one could not have too much thyme - I was wrong!


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