Russia is a fascinating country for many reasons, but food tends not to be one of them. For example, how many of us have a Russian restaurant in our neighborhoods? It’s not surprising as dishes with names like “borscht” don’t exactly electrify the taste buds.
But not so fast! One Russian dish has been trending online recently not only for its delicious taste but its adorable appearance as well: Squid Piglets! As you might imagine they are little pigs made out of squid and other delicious stuff.
Or, if you’re struggling to imagine such a thing, join our reporter Meg as she shows us how to make these squiggly wiggly little squid-piglets.
As with any international recipe, you’re likely to have to make some alterations for what’s available in your part of the world. Meg was no different and assembled a Japanese list of ingredients derived from various YouTube videos from Russia.
Rice – 1/2 cup
Mushrooms – 100g (3.5oz)
Onion – 1/2
Carrot – 1/2
Egg – 1
Cheese – 50g (1.8oz)
Salt & Pepper – desired amount
Mayonnaise – desired amount
Seaweed – enough to make little eyes (original recipe uses peppercorns)
And of course the main ingredient: squid! Of course like snowflakes, squid come in various shapes and sizes. Meg’s recipe was designed to fill three small-sized koyariika and two larger sarumeika. This means you should only use the amounts listed above as a rough guide and then adjust depending on the size of your own cephalopod.
Right, let’s get started!
1 – Cook your rice.
2 – Cut off the mantle of the squid, then remove the internal organs and cartilage. This recipe only uses the mantle, so you might want to make plans for the tentacle in something else later.
▼ If you’ve never handled squid yourself, this video can help. Just don’t take it as far as this guy does.
3 – Clean off the squid and move it to a pot. Pour boiling hot water over it and let sit for about 20 seconds, then peel off the skin.
4 – Prepare the remaining ingredients. Thinly cut the carrot, onion, and mushrooms into lengths of about 2 centimeters (1 inch). A shredder works well for this.
5 – Pour some oil into a frying pan and begin frying the vegetables. After some light frying clear some space in the center and drop in an egg. Fry everything together well.
6 – Add enough salt and pepper for the desired taste and then mix in the cheese.
7 – Add the mixture to the cooked rice, then preheat the oven to 150℃.
8 – Take the squid mantles and cut off the pointed fins to make the piglet ears. Stuff the mantle with the rice and vegetable mixture.
9 – Cut two triangles out of the squid fins to make the piglet ears. Cut two slits into the stuffed mantle to insert the ears. Then, cut off the tip of the mantle and… Your pig has taken shape!
10 – Coat the backs of your piglets with some mayonnaise and then bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
11 – Cut little circles out of some seaweed to give your piglets some peepers, and presto! Squid-piglets are ready for your business luncheon and/or funeral service!
Upon completion, Meg was in awe at whichever Russian genius came up with this idea. Once baked the plump squid bodies took on the color of a pig and even the ears began to curl a little for that extra touch of awww. However, while it certainly passed the appearance test, how do squid-piglets taste?
Meg enjoyed the creamy texture provided by the egg and cheese inside. It kind of reminded her of a carbonara with the added pepper and texture of the squid. It was delicious, but a mild taste. You may want to bump up the seasonings for more of a kick. Meg thought if she had used the Russian standard of peppercorn eyes rather than seaweed, her squid-piglets would have had a little more zing.
Again, this was all done with ingredients readily found in Japan, and may taste considerably different from the more authentic Russian squid-piglets. Nevertheless, the visual impact of these things is the real selling point and there’s lots of room for improvisation in this recipe to fine tune it to your liking.
Best of all, it only took about 30 minutes to prepare (not including the baking time). Even Meg, who hadn’t handled a squid in a good 10 years, was able to make squid-piglets effortlessly. So, don’t be afraid to adorn your dinner table with these cute little guys straight from Russia with love.
▼ Turn your drab old squid…
▼…into happy little piglets!
▼ Those squeals aren’t from the piglets, they’re all your delighted dinner guests
▼ A pig’s rear end never looked so good
▼ But is it too cute to eat?
▼ Naw, of course not!
▼ This video also gives a good sense of how to make squid-piglets the Russian way
[ Read in Japanese ]