“Pine-Cone” Squid

Ika No Matsukasa Yaki

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves



Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

Golden squares of nubbly, tender squid look like pine cones and taste divine. They make an unusual and attractive hors d’oeuvre.


  • 2–3 fillets of squid (about pounds)
  • 1–2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1–2 tablespoons mirin (syrupy rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, dry roasted


Lay the triangular-like fillets flat on the board, inner surface down. (If you’re having trouble deciding which side is the inner one, look closely for ridges; these indicate where the cartilage used to be on the inside of the body.) With a very sharp knife score the outer surface of the squid with many shallow cuts in a crosshatch design.

Remove the skin from tail to head if this has not already been done, and slit open the conical body. If you have leg and tail “flaps” left over from filleting a whole squid, trim off the suction cups from the legs and either salt grill the squid pieces on a net and serve them with lemon wedges and soy sauce or use them in place of shrimp in the fish dumpling recipe.

Marinate the squid in soy sauce for 10–15 minutes. Reserving the soy sauce for later use, remove the squid and skewer each fillet with 3 skewers. Grill or broil over moderately high heat until the squid becomes opaque and the nubbly design from the crosshatching becomes fairly obvious (about 1–2 minutes). Twirl the skewers in place, then flip over the squid and grill or broil the nontextured side for 1–2 minutes. Now add the syrupy rice wine to the reserved soy sauce and brush this glaze frequently and lavishly over both sides of the grilling squid for 3–4 minutes. Remove the skewers immediately and sprinkle the textured side of the squid with dry-roasted black sesame seeds. Cut the fillets into bite-size squares and serve the squid warm or at room temperature.