Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lime Coconut Squid with Star Anise- Pweza wa nazi

Today's recipe comes from the Spice Islands of Zanzibar off the East African coast. 
Source:  Wikimedia Commons

Spicy and textured in sweet, sour and hot just like the medley of currents  surrounding the island and nourishing the rich marine life.

Trying to save money by getting the best deals, I ended up with three cans of coconut milk. Great, but my repertoire of coconut milk based dishes leaves a lot wanting. Have been planning a trip to Kenya/ Tanzania for a long time. Specifically since last weekend's island getaway. Two conversations under a starlit night on an island (Daymānīyāt Island-23°50'42" N, 58°5'11" E) off the coast of Oman, and they both lead to Africa. 

And hence this recipe. Again, the original recipe (Pweza wa nazi) called for octopus, but octopus being out of season, I substituted with squid.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • Squid:  1kg,cleaned and cut into rings
  • Coconut milk: 200 ml
  • Onion: 1 large, chopped
  • Ginger garlic paste: 2 tsp
  • Tomato- 200 gm, pureed
  • Star Anise: 2 whole
  • Cinnamon: 2 inch stick, broken into smaller pieces
  • Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Black pepper corns: 3 tsp
  • Dried red chilli: 3
  • Turmeric powder: 2 tsp
  • Cayenne powder: 3 tsp
  • Garam masala:  1 tsp
  • Mustard oil: 4 tbsp
  • Lime: 2 large, juiced
  • Salt: to taste
  • Milk (to marinate squid): 100 ml

Preparation (Marination- 1 hr+ Cooking time- 40 min s= 100 mins)

Squid/ octopus tends to get rubbery if cooked too much and this is the simplest marination tip I found. Surprisingly it works. Clean the squid, cut into rings and marinate in a bowl of milk for  1 hour.

While the squid marinates, let's prepare the base. Puree tomato and set aside. In a small sauce pan  dry roast the whole spices- Pepper, cinnamon, cumin seeds, dry whole chilli and star anise. Set aside.

Fill a saucepan with water, bring to boil. Now add the squid and cook for 20 mins. Keep checking to see when the squid just gets done. Too much and you may as well call this dish Lime Coconut with Vulcanized Squid. The squid rings will tend to shrink somewhat and turn pinkish in colour when they are just about done.


In a separate frying pan saute the  onions in mustard oil till translucent. Add ginger garlic paste, turn flame to medium. once the oil starts leaving the sides, add the drained squid rings, turmeric and cayenne.


 Stir for 2-3 mins to coat squid evenly in the onion, ginger-garlic,turmeric and pepper powder. Add tomato puree, cover and cook on medium heat for 5 mins. Stir in coconut milk, dry spice mix and lemon juice.Add just salt. Cover and let simmer to a creamy stem in ten minutes.

  • This is pretty fiery stuff. Though the coconut does bring down the hotness quoitent, would
    Source:Wikimedia Commons
    recommend using lower portions of spices if you are not used to eating very spicy food.
  • Accompany with a glass of chaas to take some of the heat off.

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