Appetising Asian


By Jan Bilton

Asian cooking techniques and condiments are now so widely used in Kiwi kitchens that they have become the norm. Stir-frying has been around since New Zealand’s gold rush days and the popularity of Chinese restaurants in the 1950s had a big influence on home cooking. The change from English-based meals of meat and three veg has been evolving over many years. Today, combining Chinese sauces and spices with a lamburger is no longer thought of as fusion food — it’s Kiwi cuisine.

Root ginger was one of the first Asian ingredients to be widely accepted. It originated in the southern provinces of China and India where it is used as a medicine as well as for culinary purposes. Try steeping a few slices in hot water then strain to make a ‘tea’ to settle an upset stomach.

Young ginger can be sliced or grated without peeling. However, as it matures the skin become tough so peeling is then necessary. To store, wrap in a paper towel and keep in a cool dry place such as the pantry or refrigerator.


If preferred, tenderise the squid by marinating with a mashed green kiwifruit for 30 minutes. Pat dry.


400g cleaned squid tubes

1-2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped root ginger

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon each: diced chilli, curry powder, sugar

Sauce: 1 teaspoon cornflour

1/4 cup each: fish or chicken stock, white wine

2 tablespoons each: soy sauce, hoisin sauce

Cut the squid tubes open and, with the point of a sharp knife, score the inside in a close criss-cross pattern. Then cut the squid into 5cm squares.

Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli, curry powder and sugar and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the squid and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until just cooked. Remove the squid to one side.

Combine the ingredients for the sauce and stir into the pan, cooking until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Return the squid to the pan. Serve immediately.

Excellent served over steamed beans and spinach leaves that have been drizzled with a tablespoon of sesame oil. Serves 4-5.

  • Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more of her recipes visit her website here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *