Salt and pepper squid with spring onions and chilli

Serves 4 Starters and mains

Squid 0231



  • 5 medium squid with tentacles (total weight around 900g), cleaned
  • rapeseed or sunflower oil, for deep-frying, plus 1tbsp for the spring onions and chilli
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g ‘00’ flour
  • 45g cornflour
  • 1⁄4tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/8tsp star anise, finely ground
  • 3tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1⁄4tsp toasted sesame oil
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 long green chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • cheeks from 2 limes, to serve


Cut the squid bodies into 1cm rings, the wings into strips and the tentacles in half lengthways. Dry the squid on sheets of kitchen paper and then set aside.

Prepare a serving platter by lining it with kitchen paper and prepare a bed of kitchen paper on a tray near your stove – you can place this under a wire mesh grid so any excess oil drains off, keeping the squid nice and crisp.

Heat a dry frying pan and add the Sichuan pepper. Toast for a minute or so until fragrant, then tip into a pestle and mortar, along with the ground star anise and 4 teaspoons sea salt, and crush to a powder. Set aside in a serving bowl. Mix the soy sauce with the sesame oil and lime juice in another serving bowl and set both aside ready for when you plate up.

Half-fill a large pan, wok or a deep-fat fryer with oil, and heat it to 180C/350F, or until a small piece of bread browns in 15 seconds. (If using a wok, adjust the heat as you fry so it doesn’t get too hot.)

Meanwhile, mix the eggs in one bowl and the flours with a pinch of sea salt in another. Dip the squid pieces first in the flour to coat (a few at a time), then into the egg, then back into the flour until well coated. Fry – in batches if necessary – until pale golden. Leave to drain.

Wipe out the pan or wok and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Quickly stir-fry the spring onions and chilli for a few seconds until just wilted. Scatter over the squid. To serve, dip the squid into the salt and pepper mix and then soy sauce mixture and serve with lime cheeks on the side.

Squid 0231


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