Recipes: Grilled Squid & Candied Ikan Bilis

Recipes: Grilled Squid & Candied Ikan Bilis

I don’t know about you, but the flavours of Chinese cuisine are always guaranteed to make my taste buds tingle . From the clean, crisp ingredients to the combination of sour, sweet and salt, a meal at an authentic Chinese restaurant is the perfect way to start a night out with friends.

But, I’ve never been able to replicate the  textures and tastes of Chinese cooking at home.

Enter, Chui Lee Luk, award-winning chef, author and owner of Chow Bar & Eating House. Chui has put together a simple and delicious Chinese dish that will impress even your most epicurean friends.

Grilled Squid & Candied Ikan Bilise

(Serves 4)

For the Candied Ikan Bilis

100g Ikan Bilis (dried anchovies)
1.5 tbs caster sugar
3 tsp dark soy sauce

For Pickling the Green Papaya

Peanut oil (for frying)
2 long green chillies
0.25 of a whole green papaya
375 ml rice vinegar
2 tbs salt
1 tbs caster sugar

For Grilling the Squid

4 whole squid
.5 tsp salt
1 lime (cut in wedges to serve)
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Candy the Ikan Bilis

Toast the ikan bilis in a medium-hot pan with a little oil until crispy. Drain on paper towels. In another pan, heat the sugar until it turns a light caramel. Add the ikan bilis and toss to coat well. Add the soy sauce and toss again to coat. Tip the ikan bilis onto a foil-lined baking tray brushed with a little oil and separate them out so they don’t clump while they’re cooling.

Pickle the Green Papaya

Heat a pan and drizzle with oil. Add the chillies and reduce the heat to medium. Char the chillies by pressing on one side against the bottom of the pan, then turning them and charring the other side. Refresh in iced water. Peel, chop roughly and put in a bowl. Peel the green papaya, scape out the seeds and membrane and slice the flesh thinly. Add to the bowl. Bring the vinegar, salt and sugar and 500ml water to the boil in a saucepan, cool to room temperature and then pour over the papaya and chillies. Leave to sit for a couple of hours before serving.

Grill the Squid

Clean the squid by cutting off the heads and removing the wings (but keep the skin on). Pull out the innards and then rinse and dry the inside of the tubes. I’d suggest using a plancha (metal griddle pan) or a stainless steel frying pan for grilling the squid. Heat the pan on the highest flame until it’s smoking hot. Scatter the salt on the pan then add the squid and cook for about 10 seconds. Use a fish slice to keep the underneath of the squid flat against the pan so that it’s golden and crusted. Turn the squid and repeat the process. Take out of the pan and season with white pepper.

Assemble the Dish

The squid should be served immediately. Cut the squid into rings and arrange on a platter with a pile of the pickled green papaya and chillies. Scatter about some of the ikan bilis. Serve with lime wedges and drizzle the plate with extra virgin olive oil.

For more of Chui Lee Luk’s recipes, you can purchase her cook book Green Pickled Peaches or visit her Sydney eatery, Chow Bar and Eating House, Surry Hills.



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