This Vietnamese stir-fried squid with veggies is quick and easy to make for dinner. The squid is sautéed until just cooked through to retain its mild sweetness and a pleasant texture.
Besides steaming ang grilling, stir-frying is one of the most popular ways to cook squid in Vietnamese cuisine. Stir-fried squid is called “mực xào” in Vietnamese. Viet cooks can use different combinations of vegetables to add to the dish. The version I’m sharing today is very popular in Saigon, and later in this post, I will include a variation my mom often makes in the North.
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Here are the main ingredients for this stir-fried squid recipe:
- veggies: pineapple, tomato, scallion and leaf celery
- aromatics and seasonings: garlic, onion, fish sauce, salt and pepper
In case you are wondering “what is leaf celery?”: it is a thin variety of celery with flavorful stalks and leaves. It is pretty common to use this Asian celery in stir-fries in Vietnam.
You may need to take a trip to an Asian grocery store to buy it in the US. If that’s not possible, you can use the leafy part of Western celery or substitute it with scallions though it will be less aromatic.
This recipe comes together very quickly, about 5 minutes so make sure you prepare all ingredients before heating the stove. The squid can be cut into rings or bite-sized pieces, and you can visit my steamed squid recipe to watch how to clean and cut it.
All the veggies will need to be either sliced or cut into short sections to match the size of the squid pieces. Here are the steps to cut a pineapple in an Asian style, which you can also find in the video above.
Once all ingredients have been prepped, heat a heavy-bottomed pan (such as a well-seasoned Lodge cast iron skillet) until it is very hot. Start with briefly sautéing the squid. Do not cook all the way through yet, or it may be overcooked later and become rubbery.
Set the squid aside and sauté the aromatics. Then cook the pineapple and tomato briefly before adding back the squid and stir-frying them together.
Finally, stir in chopped scallion and leaf celery, and the dish is ready to serve. It is best to eat it right away when it is still hot. Also, leftovers will not taste as good the next day, so I recommend making just enough for your meal.
You can eat this squid stir-fry with rice or on its own. It is also common to serve it with a small bowl of fish sauce on the side as a dipping sauce.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
The version of stir-fried squid my mom often makes in the North doesn’t use pineapple or tomato. It contains thinly sliced kohralbi besides scallion of leaf celery.
Another variation is super simple. There’s also no tomato or pineapple, and you just need to increase the amount of onion and celery leaves used. This simple version is called “mực xào hành cần“.
As mentioned previously, if you cannot find leaf celery, the best substitute would be the leafy part of the regular Western celery. Otherwise, you may use more onion and scallion instead.
Other recipes with squid you may want to try:
⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Stir-fried Squid
- 1/2 lb squid, cleaned and cut into rings or bite-sized pieces (225g)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- cooking oil
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion (about ¼ of a large onion, 40g)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups pineapple cut into bite-sized pieces (about 200g)
- half a medium tomato, cut into wedges
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (to taste)
- 1/2 cup leaf celery chopped into 2-inch long pieces (about 10g. See Notes for substitution)
- 1 large scallion stalk, chopped into 2-inch long pieces
- Toss the squid with salt and pepper while heating a heavy-bottomed pan over medium to medium-high heat.
- Once the pan is hot, add cooking oil to coat the bottom. Add the squid, stir and sauté quickly for up to a minute. No need to cook all the way through yet. Remove the squid from the pan and set aside.
- Add a little more oil if needed. Then add sliced onion to the pan and cook for several seconds. Add minced garlic, stir and cook until fragrant.
- Add pineapple pieces and give everything a quick stir. Then add tomato and continue to cook for about 1 minute to 1½ minutes. Give the ingredients in the pan a stir from time to time.
- Add the squid back to the pan and also add fish sauce. Continue to stir fry constantly for about 30 seconds or until the squid is cooked through. Taste and add more salt or fish sauce to your liking.
- Stir in chopped scallion and leaf celery. Sprinkle more black pepper if desired, then transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.
- Leaf celery is a thin variety of celery with flavorful stalks and leaves. It can be found at Asian grocery stores. If you cannot buy it, the best substitute would be the leafy part of the regular Western celery. Otherwise, you may use more onion and scallion instead.
- You can watch the video in the body of the post to see how to slice the squid and the pineapple for this stir-fry. It is also fine to slice them in a different way that you prefer, for example: slicing the squid into rings.
- It is best to use near-ripe or just-ripe pineapple.