Saturday, 16 March 2013

Asian squid sausage

So far I've tried and failed at dry January and fasting February. So, in keeping with the theme, this month could have been meatless March. Which, without a doubt, I would have cocked up was well.

As you might have already figured out, I love meat. During our holidays The Gentleman takes pictures of sights representing mankind's significant cultural heritage. I... I glue my nose (and lense) to butcher's windows and admire... cold cuts.

When a sausage is good, it just is... something really good. When the quality (and quantity) of the meat has not been compromised, I'm game the way Rudolf the Reindeer could not have imagined.

The Gentleman owns a house in England too, surrounded with some veritable Emmerdale scenery. The butcher in the village is one of the best I've ever come across. Sure he's got your traditional pork sausages and cumberlands, but also chicken with ginger and lemon grass and some seriously spicy chilli sausages. And all meat- no flour, pink slime (or horse ) anywhere in sight.

In Helsinki my pilgrimage takes me to Hakaniemi market hall and to Hakkarainen's stall. Their selection  of fresh sausages is the best in the city. Perhaps in the whole of Finland...?

And as much as I would love to make my own, I lack the skills and this kitchen lacks the facilities. So, I'll just settle for stuffing those squids.

I've made them with a variety of stuffings: squid-spinach stuffing, prawns and even with chorizo. This time we did it the Gangnam style. Well, no. But with some Asian influences anyway. As the stuffing is, owing to the coconut flakes, pretty dry, you might want to use fattier mince such as pork for this. Or a blend of pork and beef. But there's nothing wrong with using just beef. In that case you might want to add a couple of teaspoons of tomato sauce to add a little moisture into the mixture.

And again, if squid is not your thing, you can use the mixture to roll some Asian-flavoured meatballs!

The best variety for these are calamari pequeño, the small ones. They're about 10 cm x 5 cm in size. I usually buy a bigger batch, clean them and then freeze in suitable portions. For instructions on cleaning squid, please see here.

This calls for intact tubes, but the broken ones are still good for plenty of other things. I freeze them (and the tentacles) for later use: Tunisian style stuffed calamari or marinated seafood salad.

Makes 6

6 cleaned small squid tubes
150 gr mince
2 tbsp coriander, chopped (as these are cooked, this is a fine way to use the stalks too)
1 heaped tbsp spring onions or chives, chopped
1,5 tbsp lime zest
the juice of 1/2 lime
1,5 tsp ginger, grated
1 big garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small chilli (or less or more, depending on your palate and the fieriness of your chilli)
1 tbsp coconut flakes
1,5 tbsp soy sauce

Mix the ingredients to a smooth paste. Let it sit in the cold for a while as this will help the flavours to come together. Shape into 6 kebab-like sausages (the tubes are easier to stuff this way). Pat the tubes dry and stuff with the mince. If needed, use your fingers to make sure the stuffing goes in all the way to the end of the tube. Don't overstuff, as these will balloon when cooked. 

The squid sausage before...

Close the tubes with a tooth pick, sprinkle some oil on them and cook in a grill or a griddle pan for a couple of minutes per side. Before cooking, you might want to pierce them with a tooth pick to help the steam get out without the whole squid bursting, as that is not a look you or your kitchen are going for this spring.

...and after the grill.

Today these were served with a minty (fresh from our own garden- oh, joy...) cucumber salad.

1 small cucumber 
handful of chopped mint leaves
appr. 1/2 lime, juiced
a sprinkling of garlic powder
another one of ginger
salt to taste

Split the cucumber in half lengthways. Scoop the watery bit in the middle using a teaspoon. Slice the cucumber lengthways into thin strips, using either a vegetable peeler or a mandolin. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and let sit and soften for about 10 minutes.

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