I’ve been touting the virtues of the flavor-packed and highly-versatile Thai Sriracha (not the “rooster sauce”) for so long, and my regular readers have seen it used in many different ways from a cocktail sauce to a marinade and even a stir-fry sauce. Judging from the way things are going, we might even figure out one day that Sriracha sauce also cures athlete’s foot and helps exfoliate your facial skin.
But for now let’s just focus on Thai Sriracha as a braising sauce.
Get one pound of squid (just the bodies, not the tentacles) and one pound of ground meat (pork, turkey, or chicken is recommended). Season the ground meat a little with salt and pepper. (Don’t overdo it, because Sriracha sauce is already full of flavor.) Then you stuff each calamaro with the ground meat, leaving about 10% of the cavity unfilled (the meat will expand when cooked and the squid body will shrink — overstuffing will cause breakage). Secure the opening of each filled calamaro with a toothpick.
Brown the outsides of the calamari in a saucepan, lightly coated with vegetable oil (not olive oil as it doesn’t go well with Thai Sriracha, in my opinion), over medium-high heat. Once you get some caramelization, pour 1/2 cup of Thai Sriracha sauce* (to repeat, not “the rooster sauce”) over the calamari, close the lid, lower the heat to medium-low, and let everything cook undisturbed for 6-10 minutes (depending on the size of your calamari). Once the filling is cooked through, the squid is done; overcooking will only make the calamari tough and rubbery.
Transfer the calamari to a serving plate, cover, and keep warm. You will have quite a bit of liquid left in the pan which you want to reduce down to 1/3 of what you have. Just let the liquid boil over medium heat, uncovered, until you get a thicker, more concentrated sauce. Pour the sauce over the calamari and you’re all set. (Some chopped fresh cilantro can be added for extra flavor and color, but it’s not necessary.) I hope you have a pot of steamed rice cooked and ready to go by the time the squid is cooked, because, trust me, you will want to eat it right away.
This dish isn’t exactly a braised dish as it does not require long, slow cooking. You can easily use this ratio in any braised meat dishes. The procedure is the same: cook the meat in Sriracha sauce, remove the meat when it’s done, and reduce the liquid until you get a thick sauce.
*This recipe is tested with Thai Sriracha, not the American-made Rooster sauce.