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Chilli & Salt Squid

Inspired by Gok Wan, this works a treat. We always found that getting fresh squid was difficult until we found great frozen ones: flash frozen as soon as they’ve been caught. A spanish chef Jono knows swears by them and we do too! This is a healthier take on the deep-fried salt chilli squid you get in restaurants.

Wine Suggestion: A fresh, light to medium-bodied white with good fruit works a treat here, but just make sure it’s not bone dry as you need to balance the chilli. We’d suggest either a good Albariño / Alvarinho [we drank the Saolheiro Alvarinho from Portugal) which complements the saltiness or a dry German Riesling from a good producer like Leitz in the Rheingau or Dönnhoff in the Nahe which will carry a good level of fruit and taste dry. These really balance fruit with acidity for perception as opposed to an Australian Riesling which really is bone dry and will fight with the chilli.

Chilli & Salt Squid with Cucumber Salad – serves 2

  • 2 medium squid (tubes and tentacles), cleaned – we used 500g baby squid
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • ½ a red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and ground white pepper

For the cucumber salad: 

  • ½ a cucumber, deseeded and sliced into thin ribbons
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • a pinch of caster sugar

Put the cucumber into a serving dish. Pour over the vinegar and sugar and set aside.

Slice the squid tubes in half lengthways and lay out flat with the inside facing up. Score the tubes at an angle about 5mm apart but take care not to slice the whole way through. Turn the squid 45 degrees and score again at that angle. Once scored slice the squid into 2cm wide strips. Cut large tentacles in half and leave small ones whole.

Heat a wok over a medium to high heat and add the oil. Add the chilli, garlic and spring onions and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until starting to dry out – take care not to burn the garlic. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Put the wok back on the heat and, when hot, add a splash of oil. Wait for the oil to smoke, then add the squid and stir-fry for a minute, or until half cooked and starting to char at the edges. Put the garlic/chilli/spring onion mix back into the pan and stir through, tossing over the heat until cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with the cucumber.

(Original recipe from Gok Cooks Chinese by Gok Wan, Penguin Books, 2012.)

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