Baby Squid with Almond tarator and lime relish

For Valentine’s Day we decided to make a three course meal between us. I was delegated the starter and I wanted to make something a bit more special (also I was excited to use my new Nopi cookbook). I chose three different recipes I liked the look of to have a back up plan in case I couldn’t find the baby squid. Fortunately Waitrose did not let me down (Waitrose are like M&S but fancier) and I got three baby squid for £1.61. I hadn’t heard of a tarator before but on researching I’ve found that it’s a Bulgarian soup. Tarator is normally made with yoghurt so this is quite different as it’s made with bread soaked in milk. It also takes a whole bulb of garlic so maybe have some chewing gum on hand for after. I was making this for two of us so there was tarator left over but it’s kind of hard to downscale. Don’t skip the lime relish as it really cuts through the garlic and makes the dish come together.

Serves 2


  • 3 baby squid
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt
  • 75g sourdough bread (I used a light rye boule as there was no sourdough in the store)
  • 180ml whole milk
  • 1 large head of garlic and 1 clove
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 90g almonds (flaked or blanched)
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes + pinch
  • black pepper
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 3cm ginger
  • 2 tsp tamarind
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5g coriander leaves


1.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

2.) Get a baking tray (small) and cover with foil. Cut the top off a bulb of garlic. Drizzle with 1 tsp of oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap the garlic with the foil and once the oven is hot, bake for 50 minutes.

3.) To make the spice paste, toast the 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp coriander seeds, 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, and the 4 cardamom pods in a pan on a low heat. When starting to smell fragrant, remove the cardamom pods and bash in a pestle and mortar to remove their skins. Throw away the skins, add the other spices and grind until fine.

4.) Peel the garlic clove and crush it with the back of a knife. Peel the ginger and chop up. Add these to the pestle and mortar and bash to a smooth paste. Remove to a bowl and stir in 1 tsp oil and 2 tsp tamarind paste.

5.) Toast the 90g almonds lightly and then add these to the bowl of a food processor.

6.) Weigh out the bread and tear into chunks into a bowl. Pour over the milk and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

7.) To make the lime relish, slice off the skin from the lime then cut out the fleshy segments of the lime. Squeeze the juice from the leftovers in with the segments and discard. Chop up the coriander leaves and add. Sprinkle in some chilli flakes and tsp oil. Give it a stir and leave to infuse.

8.) Measure out 75ml olive oil and add to the food processor bowl.

9.) Once the garlic is roasted, pop out the cloves from the skin with a spoon and add to the food processor bowl.

10.) Pour in the sherry vinegar and when the bread has been soaking for thirty minutes, add this to the bowl.

11.) Blitz until a thick sauce is formed and transfer to a small pan. Heat up on a low heat.

12.) In another pan, heat up some oil and add the baby squid. Cook on one side for 3 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 3 minutes. (Mine were slightly frozen still). Once cooked, chop the squid into rings and add to the bowl with the spice paste and mix.

13.) Serve up some warmed through tarator on plates, top with the squid and spoon on some lime relish on the side.

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