Chef Peter Tempelhoff of Cape Town's Ellerman House drives innovation for World Oceans Day by cooking sustainably. Co-hosted with the United Nations in partnership with Oceanic Global and Ethic Ocean, this series showcases six R&C chefs' commitment to promoting ethical sea- and plant-based meals.
Chokka Noodles with Sour Figs & Coconut Cream
The extra-large Cape Hope Squid (Loligo reynaudii), which is endemic along the south and east cost of South Africa, is rated as a green best choice by @wwfsassi.
Chefs and home cooks in South Africa rarely see this product on their shelves because, like most of South Africa’s best ingredients (especially our fish), Cape Hope Squid are exported almost as quickly as they are caught. If you ever do happen to come across it at your local fishmonger or supermarket, take Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s advice and purchase some. You will be pleasantly surprised by the unique flavor and generous yield of the meaty mantle.
Like most cephalopods, if you don’t get the cooking right, expect some serious chewing, so keep the cooking to a bare minimum. Our chokka (the local name for squid) spends less than 8 seconds in the pan, as we have found that keeping them a little ‘under cooked’ yields the best eating experience, ensuring tender noodles.
Reminiscent of a bowl of tonkotsu ramen, the squid strands are immersed in a creamy broth made from the offcuts, garlic, sake and coconut cream. The dish is completed with a tart gel made from the indigenous Hottentot-Fig pulp and ultratex, as well as Marsh Samphire and onion flowers – if available.
Squid Broth - Method
Sauté squid in sauce pan and remove once slightly coloured.
Add shallots and garlic and sweat off until soft.
Add the wine and burn off alcohol, add the fish stock and return the squid to the pot.
Bring to under a boil and simmer for 35min.
Strain and reduce at high heat until broth in concentrated but not overpowering, add coconut cream and simmer for a further 4 minutes. Enhance with fresh lemon then season with salt to taste.
Chokka Noodles - Method
Bring the sliced squid up to room temperature, add a tablespoon of oil to loosen the strands and prevent bunching.
Sear the squid for 4 to 5 seconds in an extremely hot pan with the pinch of salt using the 30 ml oil. Remove squid quickly after it has started to curl a little.
Add a splash of water to the pan followed by the sake and garlic, reduce to a 1/3. Add lemon juice and emulsify with the butter, finish with chives and check the seasoning. Then add the squid back to the butter emulsion to reheat.
To assemble the dish, place noodles in the bowl and garnish with Hottentot-fig gel, steamed samphire and onion flowers. Pour broth into the bowl tableside.