Featured Products: Filipino Recipes for Squid
Squid remains to be underrated seafood in the US. For one, requesting the freshest squids is a big ask because most domestic catch from the Californian waters is exported for processing at cheaper labor markets. Squids tend to be rubbery and difficult to cook when they had to cross borders before reaching the grocery store. But that’s also because Americans typically prefer the bigger species from the Falkland Islands or Mexico to be served on the table. The smaller cousins stay overseas, where they are consumed as part of a regular diet.
In general, most Americans don’t find any great experience eating it as they are limited to few Mexican recipes (think of calamari). As adventurous as they are, Americans don’t think of squid as something they would prepare at home to try a new recipe. They would have them by choice at poke places or niche restaurants that serve specialties with tentacles in it, where—fingers crossed—the cooks know how to deal with a squid. Even then, appetite for squid varies according to the regional diet in the US.
Squid can be tricky to cook all by yourself. With this seafood, there’s no in-between. When cooked lightly, it tends to be chewy. Let it stay under the heat for a little too long, and it might just hurt your jaw. On the other side of the Pacific, however, it seems Asians have mastered the precise art of rendering the seafood into the perfect tender. From Tokyo to Shandong to Manila, the secret behind the best squid recipes involves searing it on high heat within two minutes or even less. Recipes for braised dishes require 30 minutes up to an hour of cook time to allow the squid to return to tender texture. When you learn the masterful technique of cooking this protein, you come out of the kitchen with expanded culinary imagination.
Squid is one of the mainstays in the Filipino diet since the Philippines is surrounded by water—the freshest catch arrives at the wet market in under an hour. Filipinos have a profound appreciation for the versatility of the squid as they can make plentiful choices of stews and sizzling platter with it. Squid can be seasoned sweet or spicy, braised or pan-fried or grilled, and come out uniquely delicious and beautiful each time. Now that you’re less uncertain how to cook a squid, you can now quit the bland squid dishes you’re settling for and give these exciting Filipino recipes a go.
This dish follows the same recipe for making chicken or pork adobo, except that the protein is squid this time. Clean the squid properly and remove the cartilage inside it. Simmer the seafood in a savory mixture of soy sauce and bright vinegar until the squid is cooked through. You can also add coconut milk to make the sauce rich and creamy. The result is a sweet-tangy and nutty stew that gives a new spin to the traditional hallmarks of Filipino adobo flavor. Oh, and don’t forget the rice. It’s a sin not to enjoy adobo without it.