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
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
In This Recipe
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.