Calamari Relleno

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For my kind of work, I read or browse tru mags and books or surf the net for inspiration before I start conceptualizing for new designs. It goes without saying that I also do this to plan ahead about what to cook. As I always check out fellow pinoy food blogs for recipes I haven’t tried or the ones that seems forgotten, I found one about stuffed pusit (squid) that teleported me back to my dad’s old office when I was a little girl. There was some kind of a celebration, must be the opening of the office itself or the company’s anniversary, and one of mom’s main dish was a huge stuffed squid.

How I did it here is slightly different from how she prepared hers as I watched the whole process. The squid she cooked was really gigantic it looked bloated w/ filling, the ends closed w/ stitches. She deep fried the squid w/ oil while I chose to roll mine on butter. But the rest of the procedure and ingredients are exactly the same. The result – wonderfully tender squid stuffed with minced pork, onions, garlic and tomatoes.

I’ve also read about the tentacles being chopped and included in the filling. In another recipe, raw egg is also to be blended with the meat mixture. All these I will surely try next time. In the meantime, here is how I did it.

1 large squid
a cup or 2 of ground pork
1 small onion, minced
2 tbsp of minced garlic
1 small tomato, minced
salt & pepper

Clean the inside of the squid, remove the head and tentacles, and peel the outer colored skin off the squid as this tends to toughen w/ cooking. Rinse under cold water and pat with paper towel to remove any excess water. Rub salt, crushed garlic and pepper all over and inside, set aside and prepare all the other ingredients for the squid filling. By the way, here’s a guideline on cleaning squids.

Fry garlic on little oil until golden brown. Add the ground pork and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the onions, season to taste w/ salt and pepper and saute for another 3 minutes. Pour this on a small bowl and combine w/ raw tomatoes. Using a spoon, stuff the squid with the meat mixture and seal ends w/ a toothpick. Extra filling may be sauteed w/ a veggie side dish.

Fry the stuffed squid & tentacles on butter over medium to high heat for about 2-3 minutes so the squid will remain tender, its juices sealed inside to mix w/ the filling. Fry it for about 5 minutes your squid will be on the chewy side, more than that it might turn into rubber. Like they say the secret to tender squid is to cook it either quickly on high temp or for around 30 minutes.

Place it on a platter, slice through the meat and serve it with soup or vegetables as you like it. Here I served it with mixed green peas and carrots sauteed in butter.

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

4 thoughts on “Calamari Relleno

  1. hi angelo! welcome back! i just had another dose of stuffed pusit :) this time no pork… just garlic, tomatoes, onions and chopped tentacles. not grilled though. and minus the san mig :(

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