I found a package of cleaned frozen squid in our near-by gourmet market’s freezer case. I decided to give it a try. I found that it was OK in a pinch but they were small squid and it was not as good as “Japanese” frozen squid. Since I had only a few inches of daikon left, I made this simmered squid with daikon dish, which is a rather common homey dish and also perfect for Izakaya.
The recipe is found in “Otsumami Yokocho” Volume 1, page 40. I used my own way to make this dish but it is essentially the same dish.
For 2 servings, I used one package of frozen cleaned squid with tentacles thawed (2/3 of 8 oz or about 200 grams; 1/3 was used for the “sunomono” 酢の物 dish below) cut into half inch wide rings.
Daikon: I used daikon about 3 inches long. I peeled and cut it into 1 inch thick rounds and then quartered. I precooked the daikon in water with one pinch of raw rice for about 20 minutes and then washed it in cold running water. Although I have not done any scientific comparison, adding raw rice or using rice washing liquid or 米のとぎ汁 to precook daikon is traditional and is said to reduce the strong smell of daikon, make it softer, season better, and also prevent the cut surface from concaving during cooking. With so many claimed benefits, why argue? I just followed tradition.
Cooking liquid: I added water (1.5 cup), sake (2 tbs), mirin (2 tbs) and soy sauce (2-3 tbs) and a few thin slices of fresh ginger root into a pot on a medium flame.
I added the precooked daikon and squid rings and tentacles to the cooking liquid. When it came to a boil, I turned down the heat to simmer and skimmed off any scum that developed on the surface several times. I put the lid askew and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Just for color, I garnished with chopped chives. This is a classic home-cooked dish. Despite not-really-good quality squid, this was a good dish and perfect for sake.
In addition, I made “karashi sumiso-ae” 芥子酢みそ和え of squid, cucumber, and wakame, which I posted before
. For this dish, I used 1/3 of the body of the squid, which was cut into rings, cooked in salted and sake-added boiling water for 30 seconds and drained. I immediately seasoned them with “sushi vinegar” (from the bottle) while it was cooling.
I made “Karashi sumiso” or hot mustard miso vinegar sauce and dressed all the ingredients. I made the “sumiso” dressing a bit too “mustardy” this time (i.e. hot, since Japanese mustard is really hot). These two dishes only go with sake, which is not too difficult to accommodate for us.