Blooming Squid Stir Fry Recipe

Blooming squid stir fry

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Squid is not the first thing people stock up on at the grocery stores, but don’t let unfamiliar foods stand in your way of good food. Squid is extremely fast to cook and this technique of making the squid “bloom” like a flower gets major points for presentation. Mom bought this squid at our local Don Quixote and like most things she buys, it was on sale so we stocked up on them. The green vegetable she used in this stir fry is Chinese broccoli – one of my personal favorites. It has a nice, crunchy texture and the flavor isn’t overpowering.

Aloha with love,

Blooming squid stir fry

Blooming Squid Stir Fry

Fun dish with a dash of extra aesthetics. The squid blooming technique is fast and easy to learn and can be applied to many other squid recipes.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Chinese Broccoli, Squid


  • 1 clove garlic Chopped.
  • 1 tsp ginger Same amount as garlic.
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 squid
  • 2 tbsp shoyu Soy sauce.
  • 1 bunch Chinese broccoli Chinese kale, jielan, kailan, gailan.
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil


Preparing the squid

  • Clean if necessary. Remove the central bone, the dark/black layer on the outside, eyes, ink sac, etc. Cut the tentacles into 3-inch lengths.
    Separate the triangular piece from the body. Starting on the inside from one corner, slice at a 45° angle about ⅔ into the meat. Keep slicing in parallel until you've covered the whole surface area.
    Clean the body and cut the tentacles.
  • Turn 90° and repeat the slicing to make a cross-stitch pattern. Cut this triangular piece into 2 or 3 pieces (about 2 – 3 inches long).
    Make a cross stitch pattern by cutting down at a diagonal.
  • Repeat the 45° cross-stitch slicing with the body on the inner side (stomach side). Cut into several pieces (about 2 – 3 inches long).
    Make sure the cross stitch is on the stomach side (inside) of the squid. Otherwise, it won't curl properly.
  • Set a pot of water on the stove at high heat. When the water is boiling put the squid into the pot. The squid will immediately curl up and "bloom".
    As soon as you see the first sign of boiling bubbles, take the pot off the stove drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water immediately to stop the squid from cooking.


  • Finely chop a garlic clove and the same amount of ginger. Separate the stems from the leaves in the Chinese broccoli. Slice the stems diagonally for a pretty presentation. The leaves can be cut in 3-inch sections. Finely slice the carrot at a diagonal. Chop the green onions.


  • Add about 2 tbsp of oil to the pan on high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until it just starts to brown. Add the carrots and cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the stems of the Chinese broccoli first as the leaves will cook quickly. Cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the squid first and then the shoyu. The squid will soak up the shoyu and give it a nice color. Stir for a few seconds to help cook the shoyu.
  • Put in the Chinese broccoli leaves and salt and pepper to taste. When the leaves wilt, add the sesame seed oil and turn off the stove. Stir once more then serve.



  • You usually won’t have to clean store-bought squid too much as it’s often already cleaned in advance.
  • The carrot is added not just for taste, but also for color as it brightens up the dish and makes it pretty to look at.
  • It’s better to undercook the squid because once it’s overcooked it will be rubbery. Squid cooks fast and it will cook for a second time in the stir fry.
  • You don’t have to use Chinese broccoli. Mom just happened to have it on hand and she uses it quite often in stir-fry recipes. Broccoli or young green beans would be good substitutes.
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