This is one of the dishes by which I judge a street food stall. Stuffed calamari with crispy garlic is such an uncomplicated dish to make. And precisely because of that, when it’s done carelessly, it’s obvious. But when it’s done right, you get tender calamari and well-seasoned pork stuffing fragrant of the ubiquitous garlic-cilantro-pepper paste all of which are lightly doused with aromatic garlic oil and thoroughly bespeckled with tiny shards of sweet, crispy garlic. And that’s a very, very good thing.
Have these little gems with warm jasmine rice. Don’t forget a little bowl of Nampla Prik on the side. Or you can do what my grandfather liked to do: eat them as an appetizer with cold beer.
Stuffed Calamari with Crispy Garlic (ปลาหมึกสอดไส้ทอดกระเทียม)
(Makes 4 servings)
One pound prepared small calamari (The length of the body should not exceed 3-4 inches for the bigger the calamari, the more stuffing they require to fill the cavities and the longer it takes to get the stuffing to cook through. By the time, the stuffing is cooked through, the calamari becomes rubbery. Using small calamari (and ideally of the same size) ensures that the stuffing gets cooked as quickly as the calamari.)
1/2 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro roots or stems
5 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 tablespoon plain vegetable oil
Cilantro leaves for garnish