As you’ve gathered by now, we Turks will stuff anything. We love baby calamari because, when cleaned, they form little pouches—just waiting to be filled. To make life more challenging, I decided to fill the pouches with an elaborate stuffing, using other seafood that would either eat or be eaten by calamari.
You may be surprised to see soy sauce among the ingredients here, and yes, it’s not typically Turkish. I first encountered this mixture of cream and soy in the meyhane of my friend
We recommend you buy the calamari cleaned, but if you prefer to use whole calamari, remove the tentacles, the cartilage in the middle and the skin, and thoroughly wash the bodies (you can use the tentacles, chopped, as part of the stuffing).
Peel and clean the prawns, then finely chop. Check there are no bones in the fish fillets, then finely chop.
Finely slice the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Wash the rice under cold running water, then add to the pan. Stir for 1 minute to coat the rice with the oil. Add the chopped fish, prawns and the salt and sugar. Stir for 1 minute to combine.
Finely chop one of the calamari tubes (and the legs, if you’ve kept them) and add to the rice. Stir in the butter, cheese, and the chopped tarragon and mint leaves.
Use a teaspoon to stuff the rice into the remaining calamari tubes (about 2–3 teaspoons per tube). Tightly pack the calamari tubes into a saucepan, with the wide open ends facing upwards. If the calamari seem too loosely packed and are at risk of falling over, put a large (washed) potato in the middle and pack the calamari around it. Pour
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Halve 2 garlic cloves. Add to the pan, increase the heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the cream and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until the mixture starts to bubble. Remove from the heat.
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