Chilli Salt Squid

This is a dish I’ve been cooking for about 20 years and I never tire of it. With a little squeeze of lemon it goes from good to great. I usually have it as a little starter, or pass it around as a canapé.

Ingredients

  • 300 g (10½ oz) squid
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 40 g ( oz/ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chilli powder
  • 1 handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves, plus extra to serve
  • half a lemon, cut into 3 wedges

Method

Put one squid at a time on a chopping board and pull out the tentacles. Pull off the side flaps and cut the squid down the centre so that it will open flat. With a small knife open the squid and remove the ink sack and discard. Scrape the skin off the body and flaps (it will peel off easily) and cut off and discard the hard beak. Cut the squid into strips about 1 cm (½ inch) wide.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer until just smoking (180°C/350°F). Mix together the flour, sea salt, white pepper and chilli powder, then toss the squid in the mixture, making sure it’s coated well. Shake off any excess flour and put half of the squid into the wok. Deep-fry for 2 minutes, or until crispy, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on crumpled paper towel. Repeat with the remaining squid. Add the coriander to the oil and deep-fry for 1 minute, or until crisp — this has a tendency to spit, so be careful. With a slotted spoon, transfer the coriander to the paper towel.

Put the squid and deep-fried coriander in the centre of a large plate, with lemon wedges on the side, and top with fresh coriander to serve.