Bought a bunch of celery, made that Spaghetti Bolognese from scratch you've been craving for. Now you're left with loads of celery and have no idea what to do with it! Sounds familiar? One solution to random leftover celery in the fridge: toss it in this super fast, easy and healthy squid stir fry. Ps. the crunch of celery in this dish is addictive!
The sauce here is extremely flavourful with a touch of heat from the ginger! Yum.
Making stir-fries is a fantastic way to use up any leftover fresh produce you've got lying around in the fridge. For example, this Chicken Noodle Stir Fry is a simple yet versatile dish that will taste fantastic with some added leftover celery. How about adding some diced celery into the flavourful San Choy Bow next time for that extra freshness and crunch!
The possibilities are endless.
- Squid or calamari buy the cleaned squid tubes from your fishmonger or in the freezer section of your local supermarket. It's way more convenient than buying whole and cleaning yourself!
- Chicken/vegetable stock is used to add flavourful sauce, I just use stock powder mixed with water as it's convenient.
- Cornstarch is the key to binding all the flavours together as it is what makes the sauce thick which will catch onto each piece of squid and celery. Yum.
Step by step instructions
First, get everything prepared. This is my number one advice when it comes to stir-frying. Things happen FAST. Once the cooking starts, you want everything to be ready and waiting so there's no fussing about, looking for a key ingredient.
Prepare the ingredients
For this dish, get all the cutting and slicing done first. Slice celery, ginger and squid.
Celery stalks are very fibrous and so for easy chewing (and minimising chances of getting them stuck in your teeth), slice against the fibre grains. This essentially breaks up the fibre strands.
Making criss-cross incisions on the squid is a great way for flavours to penetrate and sip into the squid as on its own, it's rather bland. Plus, squid curls when it's cooked so the pattern looks really cool and delicate on the dinner table.
When making these incisions, hold the knife (make sure it's sharp) at an angle with the blade slanted towards your other hand. This takes the pressure off the cutting edge so you don't slice all the way through.
Marinate the squid for 15 minutes with shaoxing wine, oil, salt and pepper to get all the flavours in. Make sure to not skip this step as aside from flavour, marinating also helps with tenderising the squid.
Now the fun part, cooking. Stir-frying involves cooking on high heat which brings great flavours as the ingredients lightly caramelise. Before adding anything into the pan, make sure it's hot. First, caramelise the ginger matchsticks until golden. Then add the squid into the hot pan.
Saute for 1 minute then remove. In the same pan (no need to wash), add the celery and stir fry for about 3 minutes. The key is to keep the celery crunchy as it'll contrast nicely with the soft and tender squid. So 3 minutes is all that's needed to get some colour on the celery and cook out the rawness.
Then add cornstarch into the cold stock (important as adding cornstarch to hot liquids will make the sauce lumpy). Mix well then pour into the pan. It'll thicken up very quickly so keep stirring. Once the sauce thickens, add the squid back into the pan. Simmer on low heat for about a minute then it's done!
All up, this squid stir fry takes about 11 minutes from the moment the pan touches the stove. Told you it's quick!
Tips for making this perfect every time
- Slice the celery against the fibre grains it'll make the pieces much easier to chew on and minimise the likelihood of them getting stuck in your teeth.
- Do not overcook the squid seafood cooks quick. Like prawns/shrimp, overcooking will result in rubbery squid. Marinating them helps tenderising but it alone won't be able to salvage overcooked squid. 1 minute alone is enough to cook the squid!
- Use a sharp knife to make the criss-cross incisions onto the squid. Not only is it dangerous to cut with a blunt knife, it'll also make your life soooo much easier and effortless.
- Do take the time to marinate the squid. This simple 15-minute step adds a tone of flavour into the squid and tenderises it.
All the ingredients in this dish help make this squid stir fry extremely flavoursome! Plus, contrasting textures of the crunchy celery with the soft and tender squid just works so well.
Good to know (FAQs)
Squid (aka calamari) cooks QUICK. Especially when they're cut in bite-size. They cook even quicker than prawns/shrimp! When squid is cooked, it curls up and the colour turns solid opaque white. Generally, 1 minute is more than enough to ensure it is fully cooked. So the key to adding flavour (caramelisation) is to cook squid on high heat (or over a hot bbq!)
To learn about how long it takes to cook prawns/shrimp, I go into detail in this Easy Garlic Prawn Pasta recipe, including how to peel and devein prawns at home.
Yes! It's very low in fat, packed full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. For every 100g of squid, it has only just over 1g of fat and a whopping 16g of protein!
Bear in mind, fat does not mean unhealthy. Eating this squid stir fry just means you can save your daily intake of fats for other meals. Ideally, in the form of good fats such as nuts, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, etc.
Use them in place of parsley! The flavours are very similar. Or, make a simple, pesto out of it instead of the usual basil. You can also add it to any stock you might be making.
Serve this simple dish with some rice as a quick and easy mid-week healthy dinner.
Or, supplement this with a more substantial dish such as a budget-friendly and easy homestyle Soy Sauce Chicken! With some rice of course (or this mega flavour packed Chinese Sausage Fried Rice). Now, this is a feast!
Best not leave any leftovers so cook as much as you can eat on the day. Although safe to eat, overnight cooked seafood inevitably taste 'fishy'.
Made this Squid stir fry with celery recipe? Let me know your thoughts or questions by dropping a note in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you 🙂
Happy cooking! - Gen
More delicious stir-fries to make
Squid Stir Fry with Celery
- 2 stalks celery slice diagonally, about ½cm/¼inch thick (note 1)
- 2.5 cm /1inch ginger cut into thin matchsticks
- 1½ tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup chicken or veg stock cold
- 2 tubes squid cleaned, about 200g/7oz
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
- ½ tablespoon oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- Cut the squid down the centre so it opens up flat. Shallow score diagonally in a crisscross pattern. Make sure to not cut through the squid. Then cut the scored squid into bite sized pieces. About 5cm/2inch per piece. (note 2)
- Combine all squid marinate ingredients in a medium sized bowl, mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate. (note 3)
- Add 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick pan or skillet on high heat. Add ginger and saute for 30 seconds until it starts to golden.
- Add marinated squid into the hot pan. Saute for 1 minute on high heat then remove, set aside. (note 4)
- In the same pan (no need to wash), add remaining ½ tablespoon oil and celery. Saute on high heat for about 2 minutes, cooking out the rawness.
- Add cornstarch into cold stock, mix well until no lumps. Pour into the pan, reduce heat to medium and stir through until sauce thickens.
- Reduce heat to low, add sauted squid back into the pan. Stir through for 1 minute, sauce should reduce a little. Taste sauce, adjust for seasoning if required.
- Serve immediately and with some rice!