I’ve spent many years trying to perfect my method for the ultimate fried squid. Two factors make all the difference: scoring the flesh with a sharp knife, and using a mixture of rice flour and cornflour to dust before frying. The finer flour produces an ultra-crisp finish.
To make the chilli jam, in a food processor pulse the chillies, garlic and ginger until finely chopped. Scrape into a small saucepan and add the vinegar, sugar and
To make the salt-and-pepper flour, in a small dry frying pan toast all the peppercorns for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Crush with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and then mix in a shallow dish with the sea salt, chilli flakes and flours.
Separate the cleaned and dried squid tentacles from the bodies. Slice the bodies and lay out flat, then score the flesh with a crisscross pattern. Cut into 4 cm (1½ inch) pieces. Dust the squid bodies and tentacles with the salt-and-pepper flour.
Heat the oil in a wok or deep medium saucepan until it reaches 180–190°C (350–375°F) or when a small piece of bread instantly sizzles. Fry eight to ten pieces of squid at a time until golden, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Add the chilli slices to the wok and fry for 30 seconds until crisp (you could also fry up some sliced garlic, which never hurts).
Serve the hot crispy squid with spring onions and fried chillies sprinkled over and the chilli jam on the side.
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