Chinese Crisp - Fried Salt and Pepper Squid

"This is one of my all time favourite Chinese dishes. Baby squid are best for this recipe as they cook quickly and are tender."
photo by Luschka photo by Luschka
photo by Luschka
photo by Luschka photo by Luschka
Ready In:




  • Slit each squid body open along one side with a sharp knife then score the inside of each in a criss cross pattern.
  • Set aside with the tenticles.
  • Heat 5 cm of Vegetable oil in the base of a deep frying pan.
  • Place the sea salt and the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and crush coarsely together.
  • stir into the cornflour, then toss with the squid to coat.
  • Cook the chillies and salad onions in the hot oil for 30 seconds then scoop them out with a mesh spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Cook the squid body and tentacles in the pan for 2 minutes until it rolls up and turns crisp and lightly golden.
  • Transfer the squid to a plate, scatter over the crispy chilli and salad onions and serve with soy sauce for drizzling and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Luschka
    This was absolutely delicious. I didn't have chillies, which was unfortunate, but the rest I had and it swas simply stunning. The only difference was that I'd never fry the squid for two minutes. I think it would become quite tough. I fried it for closer to 30 or 40 seconds, and it was melt in the mouth soft. Delicious! Thanks for sharing!
  2. Shasha
    Not the breading recipe I was looking for; and the squid came out pretty tough :(
  3. Leggy Peggy
    This wonderful recipe is from Ainsley Harriott's Gourmet Express 2 cookbook. I love it as a great way to have this dish at home (instead of only at a restaurant). Because I usually feed a crowd, I often double or treble this recipe. If you need to do the same, you can usually get by with less than the full amount of cornflour. But don't cut back on the salt or pepper. I did the first time I 'upped' the recipe, and I was sorry. Also, you don't have to use young squid to have a tender meal. The already-cleaned squid I can buy usually has five 'hoods' to a kilo, or about 200 grams (or 6-7 ounces) each. They cook just fine. I do find, though, that it takes about three minutes cooking to achieve the right crispness. And a quick comment about defrosting squid hoods -- you have to let them defrost in their own time (any encouragement such as the microwave or boiling water will just spoil them and make the end result tough). I learned the hard way that it takes more than eight hours to defrost one kilo (2.2 pounds) of whole squid hoods. So it's probably worth cutting and scoring unfrozen squid hoods before freezing them, so you can reduce the defrost time. If not -- defrost them overnight.
  4. Japanese Delight
    This was really delicious! I only made the fried squid portion of the recipe, and then made my own dipping sauce. The squid came out light,crispy, and flavorful; absolutly perfect! I will be using this recipe often to satisfy my fried calamari craving, and now I don't have to go to a restaurant for it anymore! Thanks!!
  5. Davepc
    Excellent, you can't go wrong (well maybe shasha can) with this's a winner. It's a regular for us and always tender..cheers and thanks



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