The One–pot Vietnamese Beef Stew recipe I made earlier this week was so good, but I found my self craving something lighter once it was finished. This recipe for Vietnamese Spicy Squid Salad sounded like it would fit the bill nicely. Plus I haven’t made seafood in a while, so it was pretty easy to decide to give this salad a try. So let’s find out if this squid salad is a Pinterest success or a Pinterest fail.
This Vietnamese squid salad is laden with herbs and very fragrant. The dressing is tangy with lime juice and salted with fish sauce. In this way, it is quite similar to many Thai salads.
There weren’t a whole lot of ingredients in this squid salad recipe, and none of them were very expensive, either. There was a little conversion necessary, though, as several items were listed in metric weights.
The squid needed the most math out of all the ingredients LOL. That’s because I had to convert it from 500 grams to 1.1 pounds. I also was only able to find cleaned squid tubes, so I had to account for the bits that would have been removed if I had cleaned the squid myself. That comes to 60% of the uncleaned amount of 1.1 pounds or 0.6 pounds of cleaned squid.
The other ingredients that needed to be converted from metric were the mint leaves, spring onions, and cilantro (50 grams each or 1.8 ounces). The mint I bought was packaged with the weight in grams listed, so it was easy to figure out how much I needed (three packs).
The spring onions and cilantro both had to be weighed with my kitchen scale. A bunch of cilantro and two spring onions ended up being the amount needed.
This recipe is made in three parts: steaming the squid, preparing the dressing, and assembling the salad. The total time wasn’t listed with the recipe, but it took me 37 minutes from start to finish. The instructions broke down the steps, and they were pretty easy to follow.
Steaming the Squid
First up was steaming the squid. I was on board through the prep work as I’ve done this several times for other squid dishes. The squid tubes were very tender, and I had to be careful not to cut all the way through when I was scoring them. A gentle touch with a sharp paring knife was all that was needed.
I did get skeptical when I read that the squid would need to be steamed with a piece of ginger and no water. What? How can it steam without adding water? I’m guessing a combination of the moisture already on the squid and moisture from heating the ginger did it. I had to drain the excess liquid from the finished squid which, by the way, was nice and tender (I had to sample it immediately to make sure LOL).
Making the Dressing
Next up was the dressing, and I have to confess that I got a little frustrated with this process. It had nothing to do with the recipe, and everything to do with me just randomly getting impatient. My mortar and pestle are pretty small, so I thought I would crush the ginger, garlic, and chili in small batches. I gave it a try, but I just wasn’t getting the results I thought I should–the mixture was very chunky.
I eventually gave up on the too-small mortar and pestle and got out my mini-prep. It saved the day! It gave the spices the crushed texture I was expecting to get, and I was also able to thoroughly mix in the rest of the dressing’s ingredients.
Assembling the Salad
Finally, I got to assemble my salad after marinating the squid in my beautiful dressing for five minutes. This was by far the easiest part of the process. I bought two bags of spring mix salad although I think one would have been enough. Then all I had to do was toss it with the onions, mint, and cilantro, add the squid, then top it all off with the dressing. The struggle was real, but the results were worth it!