Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, star anise and ginger to the boil, put a lid on the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, finely julienne the peppers, mooli and carrots. Slice the cucumber into thin discs and mix in a large bowl with the other vegetables. Put these into a large glass or ceramic preserving jar and sit the jar in a tub of hot water for a few minutes to warm. Bring the pickling liquid back to the boil and pour over the vegetables, shake the jar gently to release air bubbles and seal. When cold, store in the fridge, turning over once a day. Leave for at least a week before using.
Slice the squid bodies into fine rings, divide the tentacles into two halves and keep the fins whole. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, fry the sesame seeds in the sesame oil until they turn golden brown. Pour this mix into a heatproof bowl and add the olive oil, coriander leaves, spring onions and lime juice and zest. When the water is boiling rapidly, carefully add all the squid to the pot and stir gently. After 40 seconds pour the squid into a colander and drain well. Add the squid – while still hot – to the marinade and mix well. Add the fish sauce and mix again, then leave to cool. Leave to sit for an hour before serving to allow the flavours to develop.
Divide the squid between four plates, serve a good handful of the vegetables on top and drizzle with some pickle liquid as a dressing.
© 1997 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.