Salt and pepper squid

all details

The trick is to cook the squid quickly at a high temperature, to keep it tender and so the cook can move faster. There's no thick batter for the oil to get through, so the result is a crisp edge rather than a cakey, oil-sodden covering. The light flour dredging also means a much quicker cooking time. Tapioca flour, also known as arrowroot flour, is best, but the more common cornflour has a similar effect when frying. Buy local whole baby squid rather than the imported skinned and gutted variety. The light-purple mottling on baby squids' exterior is so thin it can be eaten as is, which cuts out the need to peel the squid first, saving time.

Kate Gibbs's salt and pepper squid.
Photo: Danielle Smith

Ingredients

  • 750g baby squid
  • 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • 6 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 litres rice bran or peanut oil
  • 1 large red chilli, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 lime, to serve

Method

To prepare and clean the squid, gently pull the tentacles and insides from the body. Feel inside the squid, pull out the hard transparent backbone and discard it. Cut the tentacles just below the eye and set aside, discard the eye and squid insides. Slice the squid body into one-centimetre thick rings, dry well with kitchen paper and set aside with the tentacles.

Crush the Sichuan pepper and half the salt in a mortar and pestle or clean coffee grinder until roughly ground. On a plate, combine with the tapioca flour. Heat oil in a small pan or wok until very hot. It should spit and sizzle when tested with a small piece of chilli. Add the chilli and spring onions and fry until crispy, about 20-30 seconds, then remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and set aside.

In at least four batches, coat the squid in the tapioca mix, shaking off excess flour before dropping gently into the oil. Deep fry until golden and crisp, about two to three minutes, then remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and let drain on kitchen paper. Toss together with the chilli and spring onions, sprinkle with remaining salt and serve at once with lime wedges.

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  • Course - Light lunch
  • Occasion - Family meals

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Good but confusing! Ended up with the onions still in a bowl - guess they should have gone in ... Read more

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Good but confusing! Ended up with the onions still in a bowl - guess they should have gone in ... Read more

Commenter
MrDog
Date and time
5 April

Cook discussions

Veal and pork polpetti

Good but confusing! Ended up with the onions still in a bowl - guess they should have gone in ... Read more

Commenter
MrDog
Date and time
5 April