Salt and pepper squid may sound complicated and intimidating but it is a remarkably easy and quick dish to cook and it tastes fantastic.
Szechuan pepper, black pepper, and garlic are joined by some fresh chilli to create a complex and delicious spice profile in this simple dish.
Crispy Salt and Pepper Calamari
Fish and seafood are often considered to be tricky things to cook but it really is incredibly simple, tasty and quite healthy too!
This recipe is super quick, it is fried in just a couple of minutes and then tossed in a mix of salt, pepper, Szechuan pepper, chilli, and garlic.
This recipe uses a similar technique to the one used in my recent crispy fried tofu recipe. It is the safest and simplest way to “deep” fry in a wok on a stove.
I also have salt and pepper chips, salt and pepper chicken and salt and chilli chicken recipes with a slightly bolder set of flavours and salt and pepper tofu and salt and pepper prawns both with a dipping sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use frozen squid tubes?
Yes, definitely… I developed this recipe when I lived in rural Hungary and only had access to frozen squid. It works perfectly, just defrost it before you get started!
What is Szechuan pepper?
Szechuan pepper is not closely related to pepper at all and it comes from a plant called Chinese prickly ash (Zanthoxylum bungeanum) and is often written as Sichuan pepper.
I often refer to it as being “grown-up popping candy”, it has a mild tingling effect when eaten and a really fragrant aroma.
I use it in dishes like Szechuan prawns and dan dan noodles.
Can I cook this in an Air Fryer?
I have experimented with this quite extensively and have always been extremely disappointed by the results. So for me, no stick with frying.
Can I use a deep-fat fryer?
Yes, of course, it is actually a better solution. However, I find them a terrible headache to maintain because I do not use them often enough.
You could also use a deep saucepan, but be sure not to fill it more than a third with oil before frying.
A NOTE FOR US-BASED READERS!
Cornflour is known as cornstarch in the US.
I love to serve fried food with pickles, I think that it helps cut through the richness.
Obviously serving fried food on pickles makes them go a bit soft and I love that, but if it is not for you just serve it on the side.
If you want something a little more “substantial” how about something like this delicious peanut butter noodle salad?
I only recommend specific brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok.
- Chopping board.
- Sharp kitchen knife.
- Pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
- Kitchen paper.
Crispy fried salt and pepper squid with Szechuan pepper, black pepper and chilli, a perfect spicy nibble and my favourite way to cook calamari.
- 350g (12oz) Squid Tubes
- ½-¾ Tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Tsp Black Peppercorns
- 1 Tsp Szechuan Peppercorns
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1 Chilli Pepper
- 2 Spring Onions
- 50g (⅓ Cup) Cornflour
- Oil for Frying
- Take the squid tubes and clean off any residue and then slice make a cut from the tip to the base and open them up.
- Trim the top and bottom edges if required.
- Cut a crosshatch pattern (5-6mm ¼" apart) on the inside face of the squid ensuring that you do not cut all of the way through.
- Once scored cut the squid into 3cm (1¼") squares.
- Heat a dry wok (or frying pan) over a high heat and when it is hot toast the Szechuan peppercorns for 2-3 minutes keeping them moving all of the time. Transfer to a pestle and mortar or spice grinder and grind along with the black peppercorns.
- Deseed the chilli pepper and dice it as finely as you can.
- Peel the garlic cloves and chop them as finely as you can.
- Finely shred the spring onions.
- Dry the squid pieces thoroughly and place them in a bowl with the cornflower.
- Heat 3-4cm of oil in a wok to 180°C or 350°F.
- Pat the excess cornflour from the squid and deep fry for 2-3 mins. This is best done in two batches.
- Drain on kitchen towel.
- Pour the hot oil into a separate pan with the exception of a scant coating.
- Add the salt, peppers, garlic and chilli stir fry for 10 seconds. Add the squid, toss to coat and then serve sprinkled with the spring onions and lemon wedges.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 561Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 458mgSodium: 2230mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 46g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.