Salt and Pepper Chilli Squid Recipe

Endless hours of deep-frying bits of squid of all shapes and sizes in different batters went into perfecting this recipe. Recipe kindly contributed by Jeremy Pang from his book Chinese Unchopped

Salt and Pepper Chilli Squid
PREP TIME 30 mins COOK TIME 10 mins MAKES 2-4


  • 500g baby squid, cleaned and quills removed (get your fishmonger to do this for you)
  • 200g cornflour, seasoned with 1⁄2 tsp salt and 1⁄2 tsp pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 fresh red chilli (or 1 bird’s-eye chilli if you like it hot)
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper

Preparation method

  1. Wash the squid tubes and slice them open to lay them flat. Run the tip of your knife along the squid pieces in a diagonal criss-cross pattern (this will help the squid curl up nicely when cooking).
  2. Place the squid tubes and tentacles in a mixing bowl and cover with the cornflour, then cover the bowl with a plate or lid. Hold the bowl and lid together firmly and shake to mix well.
  3. After shaking, use your fingers to massage the cornflour into the squid until each piece is separate and is as dry as possible. Add more cornflour if necessary.
  4. Finely chop the garlic and chillies. Finely slice the spring onions.
  5. Build your wok clock: place your squid bowl at 12 o’clock, then arrange the garlic, chilli, salt, pepper and spring onions clockwise around your plate.
  6. Half-fill a large pot, wok or deep-fryer with vegetable oil and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until the tip of a wooden chopstick or skewer starts to fizz after a second or so in the oil.
  7. Carefully add the squid pieces and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the squid pieces carefully with a slotted spoon and drain well on a plate covered with kitchen paper.
  8. In a separate wok, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chilli, salt and pepper, then add the squid and toss together a few times.
  9. Tip: Make sure you add the squid to the wok immediately as the chillies will kick up a lot of smoke in the pan if you hang around!
  10. Transfer to a serving plate and scatter over the spring onion to finish. Serve immediately.