Discover the secrets of cooking crunchy, crispy restaurant-style Salt and Pepper Squid in your own kitchen!
Replace the all-purpose flour with cornstarch for a gluten-free version.
This recipe yields 4 servings for an appetizer. However, my husband and I devoured everything in one sitting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you finish it all by yourself.
- 1 and 1/2 pounds baby squid
- 6 cups vegetable oil
- (Optional) 1 batch basil for garnish
- (Optional) 4 to 5 Thai chili peppers for garnish
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry, or Japanese sake)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (*footnote 1)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- Lemon wedges
- Mayonnaise, ketchup, Sriracha hot sauce, wasabi mayo, or mustard as dipping sauce
- Rinse squid with running water and drain. Slice the cap into 1/3-inch (1 cm) rings and leave the tentacles in one piece. If you use larger squid, you can slice the tentacles into 2-inch (4 cm) bite size pieces.
- Transfer everything into a big bowl and add marinate ingredients. Mix thoroughly by hand. Mariante in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to up to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile mix all the ingredients for the dry coating in a big bowl.
- When you’re ready to cook, add 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) oil in a medium-size deep pot. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 375 to 400 degrees F (190 to 200°C). If you do not have a thermometer, place a clean bamboo chopstick into the oil. You should see small bubbles rapidly form around the chopstick. Turn to medium heat.
- While heating up the oil, set up the deep fry station by placing a large wire rack on a big tray. Or you can use a few plates instead. (*Footnote 2)
- Drain the squid and discard the liquid. Transfer half of the coating and a half of the squid into a large ziplock bag. Shake and the bag to coat the squid well. Then transfer everything into a big bowl.
- Separate the squid pieces and place them on a large spider sieve or slotted spoon. Lower into the hot oil. Add in small batches at a time so your pot won’t become crowded. Fry until the squid turns golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared wire rack. Continue to cook the remaining batches using the same method.
- (Optional) If you want to present the dish like in a restaurant, fry basil leaves and chili peppers for garnish. Dry them thoroughly and lower them into the oil using a sieve. This step might cause splatter since the basil contains a lot of liquid. Fry for 30 seconds, or until the basil leaves turn dark and crispy. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- Serve the squid hot with lemon wedges on the side. You can also serve sauces such as mayonnaise, ketchup, Sriracha, and/or mustard if you prefer. Be prepared for the wows from your family when they see you can cook salt and pepper squid like a professional chef!
- Replace all-purpose flour with cornstarch for a gluten-free dish. The squid coating will have a lighter color but it doesn’t affect taste.
- Resting the squid on a cooling rack is the best way to drain oil while keeping the rings crispy. Avoid using layered paper towels on a plate; it’ll absorb oil but the paper traps hot air and moisture that will “steam” the squid and make it soggy.
- Serving Size: 1 of 4 servings
- Calories: 348
- Sugar: 0.2g
- Sodium: 296mg
- Fat: 12.5g
- Carbohydrates: 27.8g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Protein: 27.6
- Cholesterol: 0mg