Stir-fried Squid with Cumin & Noodles

Stir-fried Squid with Cumin & Noodles

This dish, inspired by the cuisine of Xinjiang in China’s northwest, is all about the noodles and the cumin. While it’s traditionally made with lamb, squid works well because of its firm texture and beef or chicken are also good options. Stretching fresh noodles the traditional Chinese way is easier than it looks (see video here). If you want to give it a go, ask a northern Chinese restaurant to sell you some unstretched noodles; otherwise just buy fresh wheat noodles from an Asian grocer and skip the stretching step. It’s hard to go past riesling as a match for Asian flavours, especially when there’s chilli involved. And some of the best comes from Taylors in South Australia’s Clare Valley. I love the zestiness of their St Andrews riesling with this stir-fry, especially if it has a few years bottle age to add complexity!

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 250g loligo squid, cleaned (see video below)
  • 300g fresh wheat noodles
  • 1½ tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons chilli oil (from the top of Sichuan chilli sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon castor sugar
  • 1 brown onion, sliced into thin slivers
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil, plus extra for tossing with noodles
  • ½ bunch garlic chives, trimmed, cut into 6cm lengths
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely crushed
Method
  1. Cut squid tubes open and wipe the inside with paper towel to remove any remaining membrane.
  2. Score the inside of the tube and cut across the tube into 1cm strips.
  3. Spread out on a plate, cover and set aside to come to room temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, place a large saucepan of water on the stove to come to the boil.
  5. Pull off 3 strands of noodles, each about 50g, stretch them and cut into three pieces (the video below shows you how to do this the traditional way, alternatively just stretch them through your fingers as you pull them off the coil). Repeat with another 3 x 50g strands.
  6. Add noodles to boiling water, add a cup of cold water, and cook for about 3 minutes, until the water returns to the boil and noodles are tender. Stir them occasionally to loosen them, gently at first until they start to firm up.
  7. Refresh under cold water, running your fingers through them to separate any stuck together.
  8. Drain well, toss with a little oil and set aside.
  9. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, chilli oil and sugar.
  10. Heat a wok over a high heat until it’s very hot.
  11. Add half the oil then squid and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until opaque.
  12. Remove from wok and set aside.
  13. Return wok to high heat until very hot again.
  14. Add remaining oil then onion and stir-fry for a minute or so, until it’s charred in places.
  15. Add garlic chive and cumin and stir for a few seconds, until aromatic.
  16. Stir in vinegar mixture and bring to the boil.
  17. Return squid to the wok, reduce heat, add noodles and toss to combine well.
  18. Transfer to a platter and serve.

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