Ikayaki: Pan-fried Squid Patties

I told my daughter I would make squid patties for her when she visited last June, but our time then went by too fast. (edit: I just realized how odd that would sound to a mother with a 4-year old. The child wanting squid dumplings…) This visit was only a three to four day weekend but we did lots of things, including having conversations, and sharing food.


To my mind this is a summer-time recipe just because I’ve only ever made it in summer, and summer is almost over—make hay while the sun shinesSquid anyway. (sorry, I seem to be thinking in clichés  lately)

Frozen, cleaned, squid is incredibly cheap but until I made this recipe a couple of years ago, my only experience of eating squid was in restaurants as calamari, or as added to Chinese soups or stir-fries. I hadn’t thought to cook squid at home. Many of my older cookbooks had horrific pictures of how to clean a squid; it was not something I was inspired to try, as you can imagine.

This recipe is easy to prepare with ready to cook squid. One very important thing to do, however, is to dry the thawed squid thoroughly. By dry, I mean you should drain and squeeze, then use a couple of cotton dish towels plus some paper kitchen towels. Dry. Not shiny even! If you aren’t careful, your dumplings will be to runny and messy. Trust me. It happened.


The other thing you should know is that it is not good to overcook squid. Sometimes calamari is tough like rubber but you can forgive that because who doesn’t like crispy fried crunchy stuff. I mean that the coating will be delicious and the dipping sauce rich. From my pictures, you can see I made only 6 patties (well, because only 5 fit into the pan, you might draw a different conclusion). In Chinese soups, well overcooked squid is not nice. My point is, make more small patties rather than a few large ones. They will cook more quickly and remain tender.

Pan-Fried Squid Dumplings

make 8 to 10 patties

page 381, recipe adjusted to what worked for me

  • 1 pound cleaned squid (I used frozen/cleaned)
  • 6 ounces pork shoulder (to be honest, I used ground pork)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions, especially the green part
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger juice
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Thaw the squid, and dry, dry. as described above
Cut the squid into smaller pieces and process in a food processor by pulsing on and off. Do not overprocess! You don’t want mush. Transfer to a bowl.
Cut the pork into smaller pieces and process in a food processor with the garlic. Again, don’t chop it too fine. Add the pork to the bowl and combine with the squid.
Sprinkle the mixture with the salt and some of the potato starch. Combine. Sprinkle on more potato starch, combine, and continue until all the starch is incorporated. Don’t dump it in all at once or it will make lumps. Alternately, you could dissolve the starch in a little water and add that to the meat mixture (but only if you did a fantastic job of drying the squid).
Add the ginger juice and stir. Add the sesame oil. Stir.


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (seven-spice powder)

Combine the above in a cup. Pour a little sauce over the meatballs, or dip them into the cup (depending on whether you are on kissing terms with your dinner partners or not.


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2 thoughts on “Ikayaki: Pan-fried Squid Patties

    • Do you have a favorite way of preparing squid?
      I’ve seen some Japanese recipes for stuffing small squid, but have not tried any—can’t remember where I found them.

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