Home » Kitchen Tips » Cooking Tips » Clean Whole Squid {Easy and Efficient}

Clean Whole Squid {Easy and Efficient}

by Shirley
Published: Last Updated on
Clean Whole Squid {Easy and Efficient}

Clean whole squid can be easy and efficient as long as you learn a few tips and tricks. Wild-caught whole squid is usually available in Asian or international-themed grocery stores. Once you learn how to clean the whole squid quickly and easily, you are ready to make some seriously delicious and healthy squid dishes. Shanghai-style Braised Squid or Asian-style stir-fried squid with red onion, are just a couple of examples.

Red Braised Whole Squid {Shanghai Style Bi Mu Da Kao 比目大烤}
Red Braised Whole Squid {Shanghai Style Bi Mu Da Kao 比目大烤}

Why clean the whole squid yourself?

You may ask, why bother cleaning the whole squid yourself when you can buy cleaned ones directly? Well, I can think of at least three reasons.

For one, you can make a delicious and eye-catching dish featuring the whole squid. Like this Braised Whole Squid Shanghai style, known as Bi Mu Da Kao {比目大烤} in Chinese.

For two, it is more budget-friendly to buy raw whole squid vs. cleaned squid.

For three, it is a healthy way. You make sure you get quality squid, which is typically wildly caught and frozen solid. In addition, commercial ways of cleaning squid may involve hazardous chemicals, which you do not want any part of that.

How to clean and prepare whole squid?

The first is to wash and rinse the whole squid thoroughly

If you get the frozen solid squid, leave them in a sealed bag or container in the fridge and let them thoroughly thaw.

The second is to remove head from squid body

how to clean whole squid, remove head from squid body
how to clean whole squid, remove head from squid body

Hold the squid body and tail in one hand, and grasp the head using the other hand. Reach inside the body tube using fingers to feel and grab the innards and then firmly pull. The head and innards should easily slip out of the body chamber.

Look for the clear quill, also known as cuttlebone, inside the body tube. Sometime it will come off together with the innards. If not, just pick up the quill and pull it out. Also look for any remaining things in the body tube, such as body fat, remove them all accordingly.

The Third is to separate tentacles from the head and innards

Whole Squid with head and innards removed
Whole Squid with head and innards removed

Place the knife just underneath the eyes of the squid on the cutting board, cut and separate the edible tentacles from the head and innards. Discard the head and innards.

Next is to remove the beak, which is a bony cartilage located at the base of tentacles. Simply squeeze and remove teh beak.

The fourth is to remove skin membrane

Cleaned whole squid
Cleaned whole squid

Although squid skin, which has a spotty dark color, is edible. For the sake of a better appearance of the dish, it is a custom to remove them.

You can peel away the skin pretty easily. I usually start with the end of the body, locate the separation point and lift the skin using fingers and continue to peel through the entire body.

Clean Whole Squid {Easy and Efficient}
Clean Whole Squid {Easy and Efficient}

Tentacles are trickier, but same rule applies. Find the separation point of the skin and the body and then lift and peel. It is OK if you can’t get to certain small areas.

Last but not least is to wash and rinse squid thoroughly

Place the squid in a washing basin, wash and rinse thoroughly and then drain in a colander.

Clean Whole Squid {Easy and Efficient}

How to Clean and Prepare Whole Squid Step-by-Step Tutorial {Easy Efficient Way}

Yield: 2 whole squid
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Clean whole squid can be easy and efficient as long as you learn a few tips and tricks. Wild caught whole squid is usually available in the Asian or international themed grocery stores. Once you learn how to clean whole squid quick and easy, you are ready to make some serious delicious and healthy squid dishes.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole squid, frozen solid, wild-caught

Instructions

    Wash and rinse the whole squid:

    1. If you get the frozen solid squid, leave them in a sealed bag or container in the fridge and let them thoroughly thaw.
    2. Wash and rinse the whole squid thoroughly to remove outside impurities.

    Remove head from the squid body:

    1. Hold the squid body and tail in one hand, and grasp the head using the other hand. Reach inside the body tube using fingers to feel and grab the innards and then firmly pull. The head and innards should easily slip out of the body tube.
      how to clean whole squid, remove head from squid body
    2. Look for the clear quill, also known as cuttlebone, inside the body tube. Sometime it will come off together with the innards. If not, just pick up the quill and pull it out. Also look for any remaining things in the body tube, such as body fat, remove them all accordingly.

    Separate tentacles from the head and innards:

    1. Place the knife just underneath the eyes of the squid on cutting board, cut and separate the edible tentacles from the head and innards. Discard the head and innards.
    2. Next is to remove the beak, which is a bony cartilage located at the base of tentacles. Simply squeeze and remove the beak.
      Whole Squid with head and innards removed

    Remove skin membrane:

    1. Start with the end of the body, locate the separation point and lift the skin using fingers and continue to peel through the entire body.
      Remove skin membrane of the squid
    2. Tentacles are trickier, but same rule applies. Find the separation point of the skin and the body and then lift and peel. It is OK if you can’t get to certain small areas.

    Wash and rinse squid thoroughly:

    1. Place the squid in a washing basin, wash and rinse thoroughly and then drain in colander.
    2. All done! The squid is fully cleaned and ready to be cooked.
      Cleaned whole squid

Notes

Check out the iconic Shanghai Style Braised Whole Squid.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 26Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook

Leave a Comment

You may also like

Skip to Recipe