Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dream of the Fisherman's wife

Anand of the Spotted Dick and Eviscerating the Squid fame put together a meal for Sangeeta and me that would make the fisherman's wife cry out in ecstasy. He cooked us squid two ways, made fantastic white russians that had us drunk and merry and followed it by these delicious lemon tarts.

So after we were done cleaning and eviscerating the squids, Anand made this delightful appetizer- a crunchy garlic chili squid with a side of cool, creamy dill tatziki sauce.

For the Tatziki Sauce (recipe courtsey Anand):

2 cups of curd
2 large madras cucumbers
zest of one lemon
3 pinches of red chilli powder
2 cloves garlic
3 shallots
A handful of dill
2 teaspoons honey
3-4 tablespoons olive oil

1. Pour the curd/yoghurt into a muslin cloth (I used a hanky) and suspend it over a bowl in the fridge overnight. Ideally, it should be tied with string to keep the ball of yoghurt well squeezed and compressed in the fabric.

The Labneh- or hung curd
2. Peel and grate the cucumbers (seeds and all) onto a paper towel (not tissue) or any absorbent material over a tray. The idea is that all the liquid from the cucumber solution gets drained this way. I used a colander for this. Let it sit for an hour or two. Roll the paper with the grated cucumber in it and squeeze any remaining liquid out.

3. Spoon the strained yoghurt (or labneh, as it is also known) into a mixing bowl. Chop the dill finely with a sharp knife (without crushing or pulverising it) and mix into the bowl. Grate the garlic and shallots into the mix, with the lemon zest and red chilli powder.

4. Add the grated cucumber and stir well. Add the honey and stir it in, finally adding around three tablespoons of olive oil to smooth the mixture up. Transfer into a serving bowl and drizzle olive oil on the surface of the tzatziki before serving.

For the Crunchy, Chili garlic squid strips:
One Squid mantle scored and cut in strips
5-6 cloves of finely chopped garlic (the more the merrier)
A cup of milk
Chili flakes (dried red chilies chopped up)

1. Cut the squid mantle down the center and lay it flat on the cutting board.

2. Lay the sheet of mantle flat and start to score the mantle in diagonal equally distanced markings. Be careful not to cut through the mantle.

3. Finely chop the garlic and dried red chilies.
4. Dip the strips of squid in the milk and then the flour

5. On a high heat, stir in the garlic and the chili flakes in the oil. Add the squid strips one at a time laying them flat.

6. Cook the squid till it is an opaque white and no longer translucent much like fish or chicken.
Cook the squid for 1-2 minutes on each side.

7. Plate the squid and pour the remaining garlic and chilies on the squid. And serve with the delicious tatziki sauce.

Next for the Malabar Squid Curry:

1-2 Mantles of squid 
The tentacles
1 large onion
1 large tomato
1-2 green chillies (again, as per spice threshold) cut into three pieces and slit along its length
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1½ teaspoons of ginger garlic paste
100 ml coconut milk
2 tablespoons cooking oil (olive or sunflower)
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon red chilli powder

1. Chop the mantle in rings.

2. Chop the onions, green chilies and the tomatoes. Grate the ginger and garlic to make a chunky paste.

3. Sauté the onions and chillies in oil, till tender and translucent. Add the masala powders and cook till the aroma of the spices fill the kitchen (taking care not to burn it).

4. Add the tomatoes and stir till cooked. Dissolve the tamarind paste in half a cup of boiling hot water and stir it into the onions and tomatoes.

Sangeeta helping out
5. Let it simmer till it thickens a bit. Add the coconut milk and stir. Let this simmer for ten minutes and add the squid rings. The squid cook for exactly 2 minutes. Serve with rice.

The main reason we were over at Anand's place for dinner was to finish the Baileys which had been gifted to him by Sangeeta a year back. It was close to expiry and had to be finished. So Anand made us some delicious White Russians
1 part baileys
1 part vodka
1.5 parts milk
poured over ice
So Yummy!

And Cheers! To many such delectable adventures...

Another thing that we experimented that night was Bombay Duck and Prawn Kurkure that we found at the grocery store. While I am sure the Fisherman's wife would be delighted by these snacks all three of has had to pass after one bite. Experiment fail. The taste was very strong and pungent and smelled very fishy.

And finally for the little surprise that evening, Anand made us lemon Pies. I did not get a chance to photograph the steps but Anand was kind enough to share the recipe. The crust was soft and biscuity and the filling was creamy and very tangy and not overly sweet. I am a big fan and with each bite I squinted my eyes in delight.

8 juicy lemons (should give you one cup of lemon juice)
½ cup sugar (or as per taste)
2 eggs
2 yolks (in addition to the eggs above)
175gms butter

For the crust
165gms digestive biscuits
¼ th cup fine powdered sugar
90gms butter

Crush the digestive biscuits or grind them down to grainy crumbs, not to a powder. Mix in the sugar evenly. Heat the (90gms) butter till it liquifies (preferably in a double boiler, I used a mug in a vessel of boiling water). Mix this in with the sugar-biscuit crumb mix, evenly, but letting it be lumpy, not smooth. Line the pie mould with this, evenly.

In a large vessel, pour in the lemon juice and sugar. Add the eggs and egg yolk and transfer onto a vessel with water simmering. Boil the water first and bring it to simmer before placing the vessel on it. Using a whisk or electric mixer, whisk the mix for 10 minutes if using a metal vessel, 12-13 minutes for glass. The consistency should be smooth and bubbly at the end of the whisking. Take it off the boiler and drop in 175gms of butter, preferably cut into pieces so it dissolves quickly. Whisk continuously till the mixture is even and there is no liquid at the bottom.

Pour into the mould and chill.

There will be excess, so make extra moulds with the crust lining and keep ready.

So that was delicious. We ate our food with our hands and licked the plates and the bowls clean. 

Thanks Anand for this exciting dinner and for teaching me to eviscerate squid. 
And for anyone interested- Anand is very much an eligible bachelor.

Oh and email me in reference to the title of this blog post.


  1. great pictures, and must-try recipes! if only i can get myself to eviscerate the squid myself..hehehe

  2. Yes I got the title! Great post!

  3. Dear Jyotika,
    Where is my bread that your mum loved...
    And this squid is awesome....
    Maria goretti

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I always thought the fishermen's wives preferred octopus to squid ... but maybe that's just a Japanese thing. ;-)

  6. @haathi: I bet Anand would help you out and I think i could too.

    @Rushina: thank you

    @ Maria: I did not forget in fact its up

    @Sohan: hahaha true true, but our fisherman's wife will have to make do with the squid ;)