When I was young, my Vietnamese mother use to make this for dinner almost every other week. It was, and still is, one of my favorite ways to cook celery. It's a simple dish that comes together quickly when you have squid that has been cleaned and skinned. This is wonderful with Chinese celery, but regular celery is delicious too. —HalfPint
- Serves 4
squid, skinned and cleaned
celery stalk, with leaves if possible
small tomatoes, cored and quartered
ginger root, minced
fish sauce, more as needed
ground white pepper
- You can cut up the squid into 1 inch rings. Or slice the body in half, open it out and carefully score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern, making sure not to cut right through the flesh. Then cut into 1" strips. Set aside.
- Slice celery 1/4" thick, cut on the bias. Keep the leaves, it has a lot of flavor. Reserve a few leaves for garnish. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok or skillet on high heat. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant, but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add tomato quarters and stir, cooking about 2 minutes to soften.
- Add prepared squid. Cook and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add celery and fish sauce. Stir to mix and cover. Lower the heat to med-low, and cook for about 4 minutes. Taste celery for doneness. It should be somewhat softened, but still a bit crisp. The squid should be opaque and tender.
- Stir in pepper and sugar. Taste and add more fish sauce or salt, if needed.
- Garnish with some celery leaves and pinch of white pepper. Serve immediately with hot cooked rice.