Life Life

28/10/2019 - 08:23

Squid egg cake - a gourmet cuisine of the sea

Squid egg cake is probably not new to seafood enthusiasts, but the cuisine is often known as an original specialty of Dat Mui, Nha Trang, or Phan Thiet. Few people have heard of Hue’s superb squid egg cake made by local women in the seaside villages.

Pieces of eye-catching yellow and crispy squid egg cake

It’s understandable why squid egg cake is little known as the ingredients are limited; every 10 - 12kg of fresh squid provides 1kg of squid eggs. I’ve often heard of how excellently women in my husband’s village make squid egg cake, but I’ve yet to try the dish, so it’s hard to know exactly how delicious it could be.

Today mom seems happier after returning from the market, and I know it’s because her basket’s full of fresh groceries. It’s been a while since she could buy a bunch of fresh egg squids to make the squid egg cake for us. And I bet my husband will feel over the moon as he’s the one who craves for this dish the most.

When cleaning the squid, in order not to break the egg sac or puncture the ink sac, mom carefully removes each ink gland and clean the eggs one by one. She then pounds the squid eggs in a mortar and mixes them well with some chicken eggs to increase consistency.

After seasoning with pepper, MSG, and seasoning powder, mom shapes the mixture into a plate-sized cake and quickly pan-fries it to serve immediately or freeze for a whole month’s worth of servings.

It takes mom a whole morning for a dish of squid egg cake. As soon as the oil boils, frying squid egg cake in the pan gives off such an inviting smell of squid eggs, spices, and chicken eggs. With its pleasant aroma, the dish is mouth-watering for even the cook.

 Our morning meal now has "nothing" but two full dishes of squid eggs and a bowl of sour soup. I have heard of squid egg cake for long as an authentic specialty from my husband's homeland, but today, trying it on the first, second, and third bite truly mesmerizes me with its buttery smell and starchy flavor. What a strange and indescribable experience! The squid egg cake sliced into thumb-sized pieces, sided with some coriander and pure dipping fish sauce makes an absolutely savory and appetizing treat.

In fact, it wasn’t just me who got fascinated at the cake right on the first bite. Even my husband born by the sea is still forever excited with the dish. While chewing, he still asked for more to take back to the city for saving and to satisfy his seafood cravings someday.

Story and photo: THAO VY