Grilled Lumot (Very Large Squid) a la Marketman

We were at the beach last week, with a very good old friend (and his family) from high school that hadn’t been back to Manila in 36 years since we graduated from high school. He tagged along to the Nassau market and surprisingly for a Tuesday morning, we found tons of things to cook for lunch that day. One of the unusual items was this giant squid or “lumot” that I have avoided in the past as I always thought it might be tougher and chewier than I would like. But my “suki” or market vendor convinced me to give it a try.

Weigh up a 1.3 kilo specimen, so fresh it was sticky with mucous.

My suki suggested the squid be skinned to ensure tenderness, so she made short shrift of skinning it (there was a part of me that wondered if it might still be alive!)…

…which took her less than a minute to do…

…and gutted and cleaned the squid as well.

Back at home, rinse the squid to ensure any remaining bits and bobs are removed. Then carefully cut and “score” the skin in a diamond pattern to help prevent curling. Use a sharp knife and cut only part of the way through the squid.

Next, add a marinade made up of soy sauce (I used kikkoman), kalamansi, a touch of vinegar, salt, pepper, homemade tamarind puree and chopped chilies. Let this marinate for an hour or so. Several readers have mentioned on IG that marinating the lumot in milk for a couple of hours helps to tenderize it as well… will have to give that a try sometime soon.

Grill over a medium high heat and note that some squid still curled, as I probably scored it on the “wrong side” (it should be inside the squid rather than outside) and baste with remaining marinade. Cook until just done, this took less than 5 minutes total.

The squid was surprisingly tender, though it had just a bit of chew, but that was a pleasant chew. Do not overcook the squid, it needs just a brush with the fire until opaque and just cooked. This was easy and supremely easy to make if your market vendor is kind enough to clean and skin it for you.


15 Responses

  1. It’s my first time to know that the side on which you score the squid makes a difference. Sometimes I like the pieces to curl up, as in stir fries. Thanks foe thw tip, MM!

  2. Count me in with the sceptics doubting the suggestion that soaking things in milk make them turn out tender. Exactly the same method is suggested for liver. Why? What’s in milk?

    As it turns out, good old reliable www has the answer. No, it doesn’t. I therefore should not hold out too long for a sous vide set-up to slow beat these tough and tough to cook food items into tender submission.

  3. Hi Marketman – I’m in desperate need of your help! I collect traditional clay cooking pots and will be in Manila in July – can you tell me where am I able to buy a palayok, a Kalan and a Burnay jar – are there local markets in town? Hope to hear from you – cheers Penny

  4. Penny, I purchased by palayoks and burnays in Ilocos Norte several years ago, I haven’t seen them for sale in Manila, though I am sure someone must carry them. They might sell some in Quiapo a downtown Manila location that is a bit hairy for tourists…

  5. Joel this is john paul sarabia- we were in ur zubuchon cebu yesterday- I also bought chorizo.

  6. I dunno if u still remember me- I was in one of ur eyeball- before zubuchon days- love the chorizo.

  7. Green papaya might be a better tenderizer than milk. Marinating it too long though might turn it into mush. It works with beef so it might work as well with lumot.

  8. I never ever get squid cooking/grilling right! I always end up with rubbery ones. Will try the scoring-the-inside trick and hope it works!

  9. They sell them in Farmers Market in QC; also in Lipa and Sti Tomas Batangas

  10. (there was a part of me that wondered if it might still be alive!)

    Dear Marketman, did you see dark spots on the squid’s body that sort of enlarged then grew small [I think of it as kinda a ‘close-open’ type of motion]? If so, the lumot is very much alive. I remember being told that years ago on a beach at Bolinao with dear friends. We woke up early enough to encounter a small-time fisherman just about pulling in his banca onto the beach. He caught many fish [including parrot fish, which we bought] and a couple of huge lumot that we likewise bought. When we asked him if the critters were already dead, he pointed out the active dark spots and said, “Ay hindi, buhay pa yan. Ayan o. Yan ang sinyales na buhay pa.”

    Oh nooooooo!

    Assigned the task of cleaning the lumot, I felt like a vicious murderer as I pulled out the slimy guts and rinsed the bodies in the sea … all the while feeling those unblinking and soon dead eyes staring at me. The lumot were huge; I managed to insert my fist into the body.

    But oh the eating [kamayan of course!] that followed! Grilled squid with sawsawan of toyo, kalamansi, siling labuyo, bawang, pamintar: Sarrrrraaaaappp! [Our guilt washed down with drinks and other food plus mangga’t bagoong]

  11. The color of the squid indicates it has been iced for at least two days. Those size slices and the scoring, over high heat, you only need about 30 seconds grilling per side.



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