What Is Dried Squid Used For
Squid is one of the world’s most popular seafoods. Like any seafood, squid is versatile and can be grilled, seared, boiled, braised, and dried. In Asian countries like China, Korea and Japan, dried squid is a popular choice not only for its flavor, but also for its affordability. Most Umami cuisine uses a lot of seafood ingredients like dried squid and octopus.
How is dried squid made?
Dried squid can be enjoyed in many ways; eating it as is, pairing it with nuts served with an alcoholic beverage, dipping it in your favorite sauce, and cooking it as a side dish or main meal.
You can buy dried squid or, alternatively, you can make your own dried squid using several drying methods. Like meat and other seafood, squids are dried to lengthen their shelf life.
Dried squid drying methods
Sun-drying is the most common method of making dried squid. Simply wash the squid thoroughly and split and remove internal organs. Then, spread the washed squid meat on drying trays, pat dry with a paper towel, and dry under the sun. Always remember to turn over once or twice to keep the dryness consistent.
Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator to make the process easier and faster. Before dehydrating, remember to blanch the squid in a large pot of boiling water and shake it dry. Then, put it in the dehydrator at low to medium heat, around 70-90 C. This method might make your dried squid very chewy and not tender.
After drying the squid, make sure to pack it in a plastic bag and store it in a cool and dry place.
Dried products can last for months and sometimes years.
Is Dried Squid Bad For You?
Squid, overall, is good for the body. Drying the squid does not change its taste or nutritional value. Drying it preserves the scent and tastes better.
It contains high-quality protein, fatty acids, and amino acids. Squid has polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3) that help soothe the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
This popular seafood dish also does not contain many carbohydrates. It is perfect for those who prefer to consume limited carbohydrates and for those on a keto diet.
However, like any food, squid should be consumed in moderation. Squid contains high dietary cholesterol that might increase your risk for heart disease. In addition, you need to watch out for other health risks like high mercury levels and allergies.
What Does Dried Squid Taste Like
The taste of dried squid can change depending on the manufacturer. Some dried squid may taste sweet, others salty and spicy. Texture-wise, most dried squid can go from Beef Jerky chewy texture to extra dry and tender.
Dried Squid can also be combined with other dishes to create a fusion of flavors. The drying process enhances the flavor of the squid, making it heavenly in strengthening the flavor of dishes.
How to use Dried Squid
Dried squid is commonly sold as a snack. However, you can use it as an ingredient in your favorite dishes. To use dried squid, you must first rehydrate the flesh by soaking it in a bowl of water until it is softened. Harder and more brittle squid has generally been left to soak for a longer time. The semi-dried ones are softer, having a leather-like consistency, and these still retain much of their initial natural flavors.
To speed up the rehydration process, some people use hot water. While this might work, the nutritional constituents might be adversely affected. A proven method is to soak in an alkaline solution usually affected by baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). A teaspoon to one liter of water is usually sufficient and results in plumper-looking squid. Sadly, it can also negatively affect the taste and nutritional value. Before the squid is used, you can also remove the bones and the protective membranes to ensure a clean look.
Best Use of Rehydrated Dried Squid
Rehydrated dried squids are used in conjunction with other meat options like beef, pork, chicken, etc. These dishes may also feature other seafood like shrimps, and octopus, as well as vegetables. Rehydrated dried squid can also be used to garnish dumpling stuffing or meatballs, and may be minced and added to other dishes.
When using, take into account that the dried squid might have previously been flavored with barbeque seasoning, chili powder, sesame seeds, and smoky flavors. Hence, you need to factor that in when adding any extra spices to your dishes. Let's look at some Asian dishes that use dried squid.
Popular Asian Food with Dried Squid as an Ingredient
Spicy Dried Squid Banchan
Photo by Korean Bapsang
This is a Korean dish that is traditionally served cold. It consists of strips of rehydrated squid which are cooked in a sweet-spicy, chili pepper paste. It can be used as a side dish for rice-based meals or as a snack on its own.
Steamed Pork Patties with Dried Squid
Photo by Sybaritica
Steaming pork patties with dried squid and other ingredients produces a rich umami juice that can be placed above uncooked rice during steaming. The patties are made with shredded pork and spices. After they are mixed, they are steamed with dried squid in a suitable dish.
Photo by Ate Cristy Cooking
This is a dish indigenous to the Philippines. The major ingredients are squid and coconut milk. You can prepare this delicacy with dried squid using other ingredients like minced garlic, minced ginger, green chilies, minced onions, ground black pepper, spinach, etc. The squids are first grilled before being added to a broth of the other ingredients and cooked for 10 to 15 minutes.
There are endless possibilities with dried squid in your kitchen. This seafood is bound to add some oriental spice to your meals with minimal effort.
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