squid and red peppers

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I never used to eat red peppers, and now I have an abiding love for them – both raw and cooked. but especially cook, when they get a little slinky and smooth and sweet.

I chanced upon a fantastically inexpensive bag of frozen squid tentacles while I was at chinatown, and there was no way I could walk away and not buy it. seafood is a rare commodity (cheaply, anyway) in london, and fresh seafood even more difficult to find. frozen works fine for me – and really you can thaw it painlessly overnight in the fridge. cheap, fresh and painless!

you could really do anything with the squid, from using black bean sauce with spring onions and garlic, or do a stir-fry with more greenery, as I’ve chosen to do here.

strip and mince some garlic – I used 4 medium-sized cloves, but I’d up it if you like garlic. strip ginger, and slice it thinly – you don’t really want to eat the ginger here; in chinese cuisine ginger is often used to ‘remove’ the fishiness of seafood, and since we believe it absorbs that toxicness, we don’t really eat it in the dish and so it should be prominent enough to remove.

slice up some spring onions matchstick-long; I love onions and how they melt when cooking – use as much as you’d like. I sliced up 2 peppers, one orange and one red, because I think they are sweet and colourful (just look at that colour!). I really still can’t abide green peppers.

remember that your frozen squid needs to defrost overnight in the fridge, and I took them for a quick rinse to remove any extraneous ice.

so start with a mix of sesame oil and vegetable oil in the pan, and heat it to medium before throwing in the garlic, spring onions and ginger. I don’t like heating the oil too hot before hand as I don’t want char on these aromatics – I just want the flavour to seep into the oil for maximum taste!

throw in your peppers and cook them till they are nearly three-quarter-way done; i.e. just before you want to eat, you should throw in the squid as it doesn’t need too much time to cook.

season with a mix of shaoxing rice wine, oyster sauce and dark soya sauce; or add in some black bean sauce now for flavour. go forth and experiment! chinese food is forgiving and easy, and built on the very simple tenets of quick, colourful and wholly nutritious food.

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