Deep-Fried Squid with Garlic & Peppercorns


Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

I know I keep saying this but I DO love this dish, and it IS one of my favourites, it really is! I like to serve it with Nam Jim — the lime, chilli and squid are a match made in heaven.


  • 350 g (12 oz) squid, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 2 coriander (cilantro) roots, scraped and chopped
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 60 g ( oz/½ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • freshly ground white pepper, to serve
  • coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve
  • chilli sauce or Nam Jim, to serve


    To prepare the squid, cut off the tentacles, and cut down the centre of the squid so it will open out flat. Score the inside with a crisscross pattern, then slice lengthways into 2 cm (¾ inch) wide strips.

    Marinate the squid strips and tentacles in the fish sauce and sugar for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pound the coriander roots, salt and peppercorns in a mortar with a pestle, then add the garlic cloves and pound into a coarse paste, removing the garlic’s skin and hard base as you go.

    Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer until smoking (180°C/350°F), and then toss half the squid in the flour until well coated. Shake away any excess. Deep-fry the squid, stirring regularly, until golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove the squid and drain on paper towel. Repeat with the remaining squid.

    Scoop out any debris from the oil and then add the garlic mixture — be careful as it will spit. Move the garlic around the hot oil until it is golden, and then remove and drain on paper towel. Put the squid on a serving plate, sprinkle with the crispy garlic, white pepper and coriander leaves and serve with chilli sauce or Nam Jim.