Vietnamese Squid or Calamari Salad (Goi Muc) is a light and refreshing appetizer to go along side any entrée. Like all Vietnamese salads, this squid salad is coated with a sweet, salty, sour and spicy fish sauce dressing and topped with crunchy fried garlic.
For this particular recipe, I used cucumbers (English cucumbers are best), pickled daikon and carrots that I already had refrigerated, white onions, and lots of fresh mint. You can use regular mint or Vietnamese coriander/mint known as Rau Ram for a more authentic Vietnamese flavor.
If you can’t find whole squid, you will often find squid/calamari rings already prepped and cleaned in the frozen aisles of many grocery stores. Make sure they are uncooked for the best result. Cooking squid yourself at home result in better texture and fresher taste.
In the summer, I like to throw whole squid on the grill for a delicious smoky flavor. For months when I don’t have the grill handy, I simply boil them with a small piece of ginger. Squid cooks up really quickly. In fact, cooking them any longer than two minutes will result in a tough and rubbery texture. Do not overcook!
Vietnamese Squid Salad (Goi Muc)
- 1/2 lb squid (tentancles and/or rings)
- 1 knob ginger (unpeel, smash)
- 2 cups pickled daikon and carrot
- 2 cups thinly sliced cucumber (remove seeds)
- 1 cup mint leaves or Vietnamese mint/coriander (rau ram) leaves
- 1/4 cup sliced white/yellow onions (soak in cold water for 10 minutes then drain)
- Shrimp or sesame crackers (optional; place in microwave until puffy)
- 2 tablespoons fried garlic
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1-2 red Thai chili peppers (optional)
- If using whole squid, make sure to clean it properly. Peel the outside dark purplish skin off as much as you can, particularly around the body. Pull apart the head and tail with a slight twisting motion. The head, innards and the long transparent quill should easily slip out of the body. Place your knife just behind the eyes and cut to separate the tentacles in one piece. Cut away the inedible bony piece of cartilage (beak) at the center of the tentacles. Tentacles are edible and delicious. Keep them in your salad! Discard the eye end. Slice body into rings. Wash the squid in cold water a few times and drain until water is no longer bubbly (Bubbly? What? You will see what I mean when washing fresh squid). Place squid in small pot. Add ginger. There's no need for water as squid releases a lot of water naturally. Cover pot and cook for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to not overcook to keep squid tender. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium-size bowl, mix together pickled carrot/daikon, cucumber, mint and onion. Toss in cooked squid.
- In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Add half of dressing to squid and toss lightly. Allow the squid to marinate for 10 minutes. Toss squid into the salad. Top salad with fried garlic and serve with optional shrimp or sesame crackers and the rest of the dressing on the side.