Locals Cookbook

Here’s another fab recipe from Jon Lewin’s The Locals’ Cook Book – Sri Lanka, written to raise money for the victims of the tsunami of 2004. Squid is very reasonably priced and is easily obtainable from the Market Plaice fish mongers in Swansea market, or you can find it in the freezer section of Exotica in St Helen’s Road, where you’ll also find all the spices needed.


500g squid – Plain flour to dust – 1 ½ tsp salt – 1 tsp black pepper – 4 tsp coconut oil – 1 tsp black mustard seeds – 1 tsp cumin seeds – ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds – 1 sprig curry leaves – 7.5 cm piece rampe (pandan leaf) – ½ tsp curry powder – ¼ tsp turmeric powder – ½ cinnamon stick – 4 – 5 fresh green chillies, chopped – 6 cloves of garlic, grated – 5 shallots, roughly chopped – 1 red onion, roughly chopped – 2 tomatoes, quartered – 2 x 400ml tins of coconut milk – Juice of ½ a lime – 500ml vegetable oil


Ask your fishmonger to clean the squid for you. He’ll give you the cleaned body and the tentacles separately.

Cut the body in half and score the inside of each piece with a diamond pattern, being careful not to cut all the way through the flesh. Add the scored squid to the tentacles, pat it all dry and then dust with a little flour and seasoning. Set aside ready for deep frying.

Place a wok or high sided frying pan on a medium heat and add the coconut oil. Once sizzling, add the mustard seeds. When they start to spit, add the cumin seeds and the rest of the ingredients (except the coconut milk, lime and vegetable oil) and mix thoroughly.

Cook for 10 minutes, or until the oil starts to separate, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut milk and reduce the heat to low before cooking for 5 more minutes. Take off the heat, allow to cool slightly, and then add the lime juice, stir thoroughly and set aside.

In a separate pan, add the vegetable oil. Once sizzling hot, add the squid and fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown, then remove and leave to drain on some kitchen paper. Serve the curry with the deep fried squid on top. Season to taste and serve.

Serves 4 – Preparation time 20 minutes – Cooking time 20 minutes.

Jon’s book can be purchased at priced £20




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