Three-cup cala­mari

SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 20 MINS // COOK 10 MINS

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Colour My World -

“This Tai­wanese dish is a take on the clas­sic three-cup chicken, which can be traced back to the Song dy­nasty in the Chi­nese prov­ince of Jiangxi. As leg­end has it, the dish was cre­ated by a prison guard as a last meal for a Chi­nese hero be­fore his execution,” says Tan. “The name refers to the typ­i­cal recipe quan­ti­ties: three cups each of rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil. I sug­gest flash-fry­ing the cala­mari in a su­per-hot pan or wok, as it turns rub­bery if it's not cooked quickly. Once the sauce is re­duced, re­turn the cala­mari to the pan to warm through.”

500 gm cleaned cala­mari (about

6 small), ten­ta­cles re­served 1 tbsp veg­etable oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

20 gm gin­ger, cut into juli­enne 4 large gar­lic cloves,

finely chopped

2 long red chill­ies, seeds

re­moved, thinly sliced

125 ml (½ cup) Shaox­ing wine 80 ml (⅓ cup) salt-re­duced light soy sauce (or to taste; see note) 1 tsp caster su­gar (or to taste) Thai basil and steamed rice, to serve 1 Halve cala­mari hoods length­ways, score the in­side in a cross­hatch pat­tern and cut into 4cm x 6cm strips. Heat half the veg­etable oil in a wok over high heat. Add half the cala­mari and stir-fry un­til opaque and just cooked (2 min­utes). Trans­fer to a plate. Re­peat with re­main­ing veg­etable oil and cala­mari.

2 Rinse wok and wipe dry with pa­per towel. Re­turn to high heat un­til hot, add sesame oil, gin­ger, gar­lic and chilli and stir-fry un­til fra­grant (30 sec­onds). Add Shaox­ing wine, soy sauce and su­gar, bring to the boil and boil un­til re­duced by half (3-4 min­utes). Re­turn cala­mari to wok and stir to warm through. Re­move from heat and stir in the Thai basil. Serve im­me­di­ately with steamed rice.

Note Some Chi­nese sesame oil is over­toasted which could make the dish bit­ter. I pre­fer brands from Ja­pan, Korea or Malaysia. Us­ing salt-re­duced soy sauce is im­por­tant so this dish is not too salty – if you don't have it, use less than a ¼ cup light soy and add a drop of dark soy for colour. Beer sug­ges­tion Oys­ter stout.

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