This is included in my classification of “comfort foods”, or the what-I-would-eat-before-I-die category. Every Filipino is a sucker for adobo, and in this dish the tender squid just goes really well with the vinegar and soy sauce marinade. Pour all that black ink goodness onto your rice, let it linger in your mouth, and smile for the camera. Perfect for a first time date.
This is easy to cook. All you have to do is combine all ingredients together in a pot and let it boil for more than 20 minutes. You see, the only thing you have to remember about cooking squid is either you cook it on high heat for less than 2 minutes (in the case of calamari, sauteing, and grilling), or you braise or simmer it for more than 20 minutes. Anything between that will make the squid tough and rubbery.
When buying squid, look for that milky white to pale pink color. A dark purple color means it’s old. It should also be firm and shiny, not limp and dull. As with all seafood, it’s better to cook them the day you bought them. Or refrigerate on a bed of ice until ready to use. For this dish, look for squid more than 5 inches long.
- a kilo of squid
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use light soy sauce so if using something stronger you may want to add a little more vinegar)
- crushed peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- a spoonful of minced garlic
- a stalk of lemon grass or tanglad (crushed lightly to bring out the flavor)
- 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
- 3/4 cup of water
- 2 green chillies (optional)
Clean squid under running water. Pull out the plastic-like cartilage and discard. Pull out the head and find the ink sac, hold it from the opening and pull it gently. Set aside. Discard the slimy entrails connected to the head and take out the beak by pressing it with your finger until it pops out- it’s right in the center of the tentacles. Remove the skin membrane covering it, and rinse the insides/cavity with your finger to take out sand or grit. Slice into 3/4 inch rings, give all the squid parts a final washing, and set aside. You may opt to remove the eyes if you are squeamish about it. Personally I keep it intact for the ink inside.
Now combine all of the ingredients (don’t forget the ink sacs) in a pot with a lid on high heat. Once it starts to boil, lower flame and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Serve it to your friends and bring out the camera while they’re eating. Make sure you ask them to say “cheese.”