Recipe Photo Recipe Title
cooking process

cooking process
You'll find evaporated milk in many a creamy Chinese dish. Though rich, evaporated milk has a light aftertaste that deliciously complements fish and vegetables. If you prefer, use fresh cream instead. The key to this dish lies in the advance preparation. Properly marinating the cuttlefish will prevent it from shrinking when cooked, leaving it with a naturally soft and plump texture. As a variation, prepare this dish with shrimp or scallops instead of cuttlefish.

cooking process
Ingredients -Serves 4

1 - 1.5 lb. cuttlefish (body)
1 cucumber
4 oz. boiled ginkgo nuts (canned)
4-inch piece of Japanese naganegi
Ginger, to taste
1/3 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
Chinese rice wine, to taste (Japanese sake may be substituted)
1/2 egg white
Potato starch
Oil (for deep frying)
6 tablespoons evaporated milk (fresh cream may be substituted)
3 tablespoons soup stock
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (Japanese sake may be substituted)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste

advance preparation

・ Peel the cucumber and cut it in half vertically. Make shallow incisions diagonally and cut into 3-cm pieces. Slice naganegi diagonally into 1-cm pieces. Cut ginger into thin 1-cm squares.
・ Mix together the potato starch and water [A].


<Advance Preparation of Cuttlefish>
Put hand inside the body of cuttlefish, grab the small round cartilage at the base of the tentacles and gently pull out, removing the tentacles as well. Cut along the spine and spread open the cuttlefish. Peel off the outer skin, using a little salt on your hands or a cheesecloth if necessary. If using frozen cuttlefish, let it defrost at room temperature. Running water over it will ruin the flavor.


On the outside of the cuttlefish, cut incisions in a grid pattern about halfway through. Turn the cuttlefish over and cut into bite-size pieces.
Cut the legs into 7-mm pieces.
Tips The gridlines ensure that the cuttlefish will cook quickly and throughout, thus yielding a softer texture. In Japanese, the cutting of gridlines is called "flower cutting," because the flesh of the cuttlefish opens up like a flower blooming. To facilitate the cutting, wet the tip of your knife with water.

Wash the cuttlefish in water and pat dry with paper towels.
Tips At my restaurant we use only the body of the cuttlefish, but it's more economical to use the legs, too. If you are having guests, you might want to consider using only the body to make the dish look more attractive..

Put cuttlefish in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper and Chinese rice wine. Add egg white and knead lightly with your fingers until the moisture from the egg white is absorbed. Add 1.5 tablespoons of potato starch and 1 teaspoon of oil and mix lightly to seal in the flavor.

Pour plenty of oil in a wok and heat on low heat while stirring. When the oil reaches a temperature of 250-degrees Fahrenheit, add ginkgo nuts.

Deep fry slowly while gradually raising the temperature. When the ginkgo nuts take on a vivid color, remove with a slotted spoon.

When the oil reaches 300-325-degrees Fahrenheit, add cuttlefish. When the cuttlefish becomes firm, stir it and continue deep-frying on high heat. When bubbles begin to rise add cucumber. When bubbles begin to rise again, remove the cuttlefish and cucumber immediately with a Chinese-style strainer or slotted spoon.
Tips Make sure the oil is at least 300-degrees Fahrenheit or else the marinade will separate from the cuttlefish.

Discard the oil used for deep-frying. Heat 1 tablespoon of fresh oil on high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Stir-fry naganegi and ginger. When aroma rises, add ingredients in [A] and mix together thoroughly.

Add cuttlefish, cucumber and gingko nuts. When the liquid comes to a boil, add 1/2 tablespoon potato starch dissolved in an equal amount of water. Stir and cook until the texture becomes thick and bubbles appear.
Tips After a few moments moisture from the cucumber will come out, so continue cooking until the dish reaches a nice thick texture.

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