Braised curried squid

Braised curried squid

Chinese Unchopped
20 mins
Cooking time
60 mins
Martin Poole

We’re so used to seeing squid fried or grilled that many might find the idea of this dish a bit strange. Trust me, take the leap of faith and make it – I promise you won’t regret it. Although curries are by no means a Chinese delicacy, this slow-braised squid can be found bubbling away all day in the streets of Hong Kong, where there has been a significant Indian community for many years. The Cantonese have added their own twist to it by sweetening it up with evaporated milk and sugar. Again this might sound strange, but this kind of sweet/savoury balance tastes delicious!


Quantity Ingredient
6 thai shallots
4 garlic cloves
20 whole baby squid, cleaned and quills removed, (get your fishmonger to do this for you)
1 tablespoon madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon sesame oil
300ml chicken stock
100ml evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small cinnamon stick
10 fresh curry leaves, (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Shiitake and chive dumplings
or french bread


  1. Peel and finely dice the Thai shallots and garlic.
  2. Wash the baby squid thoroughly and place in a bowl.
  3. Mix the curry powder, turmeric and sesame oil together in small bowl or ramekin to form a paste. In a separate bowl, mix together the stock, evaporated milk, salt and sugar.
  4. BUILD YOUR WOK CLOCK: place your Thai shallots at 12 o’clock, then arrange the garlic, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, curry leaves if using, curry paste bowl, squid and lastly your stock and evaporated milk mixture clockwise around your plate.
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the Thai shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6–8 minutes until softened.
  6. Add the garlic, cumin seeds, and cinnamon stick to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, or until the cumin seeds start to brown. Add the curry leaves, if using, and curry paste and cook for a further minute.
  7. Add the squid to the pan and fry off in the spices for 1–2 minutes before pouring over the stock and evaporated milk mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, for at least 45 minutes (or up to 1½ hours) over a low heat. The sauce will have thickened slightly but should still have a brothy consistency. Serve alongside something hot and crispy like the Shiitake and Chive Dumplings or some crusty French bread for dipping into the sauce.


  • If you would like to give this dish more of a street food-style presentation, skewer the squid onto three or four bamboo skewers before cooking and follow the method as before.
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