Braised Curried Squid

The sweet/savoury balance of this Hong Kong curry tastes delicious.

Recipe kindly contributed by Jeremy Pang from his book Chinese Unchopped.

Braised Curried Squid
PREP TIME 20 mins COOK TIME 60 mins MAKES 3


  • 6 Thai shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 20 whole baby squid, cleaned and quills removed (get your fishmonger to do this for you)
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 100ml evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation method

  1. Peel and finely dice the Thai shallots and garlic.
  2. Wash the baby squid thoroughly and place in a bowl.
  3. Mix the curry powder, turmeric and sesame oil together in small bowl or ramekin to form a paste. In a separate bowl, mix together the stock, evaporated milk, salt and sugar.
  4. Build your wok clock: place your Thai shallots at
 12 o’clock, then arrange the garlic, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, curry leaves if using, curry paste bowl, squid and lastly your stock and evaporated milk mixture clockwise around your plate.
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the Thai shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6–8 minutes until softened.
  6. Add the garlic, cumin seeds, and cinnamon stick to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, or until the cumin seeds start to brown. Add the curry leaves, if using, and curry paste and cook for a further minute.
  7. Add the squid to the pan and fry off in the spices 
for 1–2 minutes before pouring over the stock and evaporated milk mixture.
  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, for at least 45 minutes (or up to 1 1⁄2 hours) over a low heat. 
The sauce will have thickened slightly but should still have a brothy consistency.
  9. Serve alongside something hot and crispy like my Shiitake and Chive Dumplings or some crusty French bread for dipping into the sauce.
  10. Tip: If you would like to give this dish more of a street food style presentation, skewer the squid onto three or four bamboo skewers before cooking and follow the method as before.