Lemongrass-Ginger Fried Squid

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Eat the bait.

Sometimes when we’re loading the boat back on the trailer or dragging the gear off the beach, the only thing in the cooler is the left over bait we brought with us. The bait we use doesn’t always look appetising, but sometimes the leftovers start looking like dinner, especially after a long day of being skunked on the water. Squid in particular, usually bought frozen and labeled food grade. Why not? One person’s bait is another person’s appetizer. Fresh anchovies, sardines, and small panfish all make great meals when they don’t yield bigger ones.

This fried squid, tossed with a spicy lemongrass sauce, is a great way to make the best of a fishless situation.


Lemongrass-Ginger Fried Squid

Prep time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

You’ll want to make the sauce first, the squid is best hot, fresh out of the fryer.



Splash of oil

2 stalks lemongrass, minced

3” ginger, peeled & minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ red onion, diced small

1 jalapeno, seeded, minced

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp sugar

2 tsp sambal oelek or other chili sauce

¼ cup sake

Soy sauce to season

Green onions, as garnish

Lime, as garnish

1 lb squid (cleaned, rings and tentacles)

2 cups semolina flour (approximately)

Oil for frying

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Make the sauce: Cook garlic over medium high heat for 1 minute with a little oil. Add onion, ginger, and lemongrass, cook for 2 more minutes. Stir often. Add fish sauce, sugar, and sambal oelek. Cook for 1 minute, then deglaze the pan with the sake, stirring up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Season with soy sauce until it’s as salty as you like.

Preheat frying oil. Season squid lightly with salt and pepper, then dredge through semolina. Shake off excess flour, fry in small batches for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove from oil and allow to drain on paper towels.

Pour sauce over fried squid, and garnish with scallions and lime wedges. Serve immediately.