Salt and pepper squid

Jill Dupleix
Restaurant favourite: Salt and pepper squid.
Restaurant favourite: Salt and pepper squid. Photo: Marina Oliphant

What you learn: To fry at the correct temperature so food is sealed and doesn't end up greasy; not to overcook delicate seafood; and to get extra crispness by dipping the squid in beaten egg white.


750g cleaned squid tubes and tentacles

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

100g cornflour or rice flour

vegetable oil for deep-frying

1 egg white, beaten

1 red chilli, finely sliced

3 green onions, finely sliced

1 lemon, quartered


1. Cut squid tubes in half lengthwise, and score inside in fine criss-crosses with a sharp knife. Cut each half into bite-sized triangles and pat dry. Cut each cluster of tentacles in two. Mix sea salt, pepper, five-spice, dried chilli flakes and cornflour in a bowl. Heat oil in a wok or saucepan until a little cube of bread browns nicely within 30 seconds.

2. Working in small batches, toss some squid in beaten egg white, drain, then toss through spiced cornflour to coat. Shake off excess and cook for about one minute until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper while you cook the rest.

3. Finally, add fresh red chilli and green onions to the pan and cook for two minutes, remove with a slotted spoon then toss with squid. Taste for seasoning (it should be salty, spicy and moreish) and serve with lemon quarters.

Tip Vietnamese chef and owner of Red Lantern, Luke Nguyen, advises to add squid a few pieces at a time but in quick succession, to maintain the heat of the oil.

This is one of Jill Dupleix's 10 recipes everyone should master.