Tasty little morsels of quick-fried salt and pepper squid are topped with a sprinkle of deep-fried garlic and cilantro paste for an appetizer your guests won’t be able to resist. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon on top to bring the flavors together and really make the dish wow. Serve as is for a tasty appetizer or on a bed of salad for a filling dinner.
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Quick Fried Crunchy Garlic Salt and Pepper Squid
I just unpacked a big box of old recipes from our storage shed in Australia, and in it, I found some of my favorite recipes from years back which I thought had been lost forever.
First up is this Quick Fried Crunchy Garlic Salt and Pepper Squid. This recipe was the first squid recipe I ever tried cooking at home, and it definitely took me a few goes to get it right. Here are some tips I have learned over the years for preparing squid:
Tips For Preparing Squid At Home
- Make friends with your fishmonger. A good fishmonger is worth their weight in gold. They can point you towards the freshest of the fresh, and with squid that can be the difference between a super tender melt in your mouth bite, and something akin to shoe leather;
- Ask your fishmonger to clean the squid for you. They will remove the tentacles and the beak which makes it a lot easier to work with;
- That beautiful purplish skin: remove it. I learned the hard way that if you don’t remove it you can end up with super tough, chewy pieces of squid;
- For this recipe, we crisscross the flesh of the squid. Make sure to use a super sharp knife for this, it should just glide through the flesh without much pressure so you will be sure not to cut the whole way through.
What Tools Do I Need For Cooking Squid At Home
As above, you need a super sharp knife. It is worth investing in a really good knife, you will use it for everything and with good care, it should last forever.
I like to shallow fry my squid in a wok. I have a wok attachment on my bbq and I love using that so any oil splatter is outside and not all over my kitchen. If you don’t have a wok attachment you can just heat the oil on the stovetop, just be sure to not overheat it as this can cause a lot of spitting when you add the squid.
I use an ancient pre-seasoned wok when I cook salt and pepper squid. It was passed down from my mother-in-law years ago and has made hundreds of meals. If you don’t own a wok you can usually pick up a great one for cheap from a specialty Asian store, or you can always grab something like this from Amazon if that’s easier for you:
A good Mortar and Pestle comes in handy as well. I have a gorgeous decorative one I bought from the Islands, but to really get some grunt work done, a nice heavy granite mortar and pestle is what you need.
Make A Meal Of Your Salt and Pepper Squid!
Salt and pepper squid tends to be served as an appetizer, however, if you want to serve it as the main meal just pair with a lovely salad, or as a nice crunchy topping on some risotto:
- Radish Pea and Quinoa Shaved Asparagus Salad;
- Summer Stone Fruit and Spinach Strawberry Pecan Salad;
- Garlicky Orange Spinach Salad;
- Pressure Cooker Risotto: Asparagus and Pea Risotto in the Instant Pot;
- Baked Brown Rice Risotto
Crunchy Garlic Salt and Pepper Squid
- 12 oz squid, cleaned
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
- 2 cilantro (coriander) stalks, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1 head of garlic separated and peeled
- avocado oil for deep frying (or vegetable oil)
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- to serve: cilantro leaves, lemon wedges and chili sauce
To Prepare The Squid
- Remove the tentacles and cut down the center of the squid so that it is laying open flat. If you have skin on there then peel it off (it is a purplish color).
- Using a sharp knife score the inside with a crisscross pattern and then slice lengthwise into 2cm wide strips.
- Combine the squid strips with the fish sauce and coconut sugar and allow to marinade for about 30 minutes
To Prepare The Rest of The Recipe
- Pound the cilantro (coriander) roots, salt, pepper and garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle until it resembles a coarse paste.
- Toss the squid in the flour and shake off any excess. Heat the oil in a wok until smoking and then, working in batches, deep fry the squid until golden (I usually have to do 2-3 batches depending on how uniformly I have cut the squid).
- Once golden, use a slotted spoon to remove the squid and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with remaining squid.
- Scoop out any leftover debris from the oil. Throw in the garlic and move around until it is golden (stay alert, this is quick). Remove and drain on a paper towel.
- To serve: place the squid on a serving squid, sprinkle with the deep-fried garlic mixture, some fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt flakes. Enjoy
If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it.
I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions! And if you make this please tag me on Instagram with @wholefoodbellies so I can share it <3
Try some other meals like this:
- 6 Ingredient Teriyaki Salmon Rice Bowl with Avocado and Pickled Radish;
- 4 Ingredient Teriyaki Salmon;
- Thai Fusion Ahi Tuna Burgers
- Vegetable and Pork San Choy Bow
You can find a full index of my recipes here.
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