Grilled Squid with Pineapple and Toasted Garlic

  • Preparation: 20 mins
  • Cooking: 30 mins
  • Skill level: Easy
  • Servings: 4

Description Grilled Squid with Pineapple and Toasted Garlic

I went back to Vietnam in the fall of 2011 and ended up at a restaurant - really a shack on the beach - where the beer was ice-cold and the menu was determined by the fisherman’s catch. The place had no refrigeration, so the seafood went directly from net to frying pan. I had piles of squid prepared Vietnamese Cuisine: dusted with cornstarch, seasoned with salt and pepper, and fried until crisp. The sweetness of the pineapple is a perfect counterbalance to the salty fried squid. Use the best fresh, ripe fruit you can find.


  • 1½ pounds cleaned squid, bodies and tentacles
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for deep-frying
  • 1½ cups ¼-inch-thick, cored pineapple slices
  • 1 tablespoon toasted garlic
  • 3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and julienned
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pinch of sugar

Method Grilled Squid with Pineapple and Toasted Garlic

1, With a sharp knife, slit each squid body lengthwise so it lays flat, then slice the body lengthwise into 2 or 3 pieces. In a bowl, combine the pieces with the tentacles and set aside.
2, In a bowl, stir together the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and set aside.
3, In a sauté pan, heat the 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pineapple slices and cook, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer the pineapple slices to a cutting board, cut into bite-size pieces, then set aside on paper towels to drain.
4, Pour the oil to a depth of 2 inches into a wok or high-sided pot and heat over high heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Line a shallow bowl with paper towels. While the oil heats, prepare the squid. Divide the squid into 3 equal portions. Dredge each portion in the cornstarch mixture, lifting it out with a fine-mesh sieve and shaking off the excess.
5, When the oil is ready, add one-third of the squid to the hot oil and fry for about 45 seconds, until golden brown and curled. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the squid to the paper towel–lined bowl. Fry the the second and third batches the same way, adding them to the bowl and always allowing the oil to return to temperature between batches. Ten seconds before the last batch of squid is done, add the jalapeño chiles to the hot oil, then remove the chiles from the oil along with the squid.
6, In a large bowl, combine the fried squid and jalapeños, pineapple, toasted garlic, cilantro, and sugar and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Chef's Note

This Vietnamese Street Food Recipe is adapted from the book Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan. Copyright © 2012 by Charles Phan

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