20-minute Indian west coastal baby squid

20-minute Indian west coastal baby squid

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

Score your squid and chop your onion. Think you can manage? This is a super-easy dish inspired by the flavours of the west coast of India. I use baby squid as it is very tender, but you can use bigger squid; it just takes another 30 seconds. A lovely summery dish, this is good with rice or crusty bread.

I find it astounding that curry leaves are not sold in every supermarket. Peppery, fragrant and aromatic, they enhance so many Indian (and South-East Asian) dishes. The dried leaves are no substitute so, when you find the fresh variety in Indian stores or large supermarkets, snap them up in bulk. They freeze brilliantly.


Quantity Ingredient
400g baby squid, cleaned by your fishmonger
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
16-18 fresh curry leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 green chillies, pierced with the tip of a knife
4 large garlic cloves, grated
15g root ginger, grated, (peeled weight)
2 smallish tomatoes, blended until smooth
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 teaspoon garam masala
1 rounded teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste


  1. Slice the squid bodies in half lengthways and score gently on one side in a crisscross pattern. Toss in 1⁄4 teaspoon of the turmeric and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan. Add half the curry leaves for 10 seconds, then the onion and green chillies; sauté until soft and colouring on the edges.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté gently for one minute, until the garlic smells cooked. Add the tomatoes, spices (including the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon of turmeric) and some salt. Add a splash of water and cook over a medium heat until the masala thickens and releases oil back into the pan, around 10 minutes. It should taste harmonious. Add 75 ml of hot water and the lemon juice and take off the heat.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a large sauté pan until very hot, add the remaining curry leaves and follow with the squid. Sauté for 40 seconds in the hot oil, then add the masala, toss to coat well and cook for a further 30 seconds. Serve hot.
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