Since I first cooked squid a month or so ago, I've now managed to use it three or four times* But every time I've picked some up from the fishmongers I've always known what I really wanted to do...
yeah baby, dunk it in some spices and deep fry it!
It's taken 29 years, but the true Scot in me is finally coming out! To paraphase one of my favourite bloggers: why sauté when you can deep-fry... And never more so than this past week. In order to prepare one of the dishes** for Tried and Tasted I've converted my broken pressure cooker into a deep fryer for a while. And I can't stop frying things!
I've never really deep-fried anything much before. I made these mixed pakora a few months back - but even then I was using someone else's deep fryer - and had to get him to work it for me! Yet last night I even found myself deep-frying egg noodles - just to see what would happen***.
So, anyway, back to the squid. I'd been wanting to deep fry some squid for ages, and my fishmonger just happened to have some beautiful specimen in the day after I created my impromptu deep fryer...
I went for an Asian twist on the calamari theme, using a fair whack of szechuan pepper in the dredging flour. I also cut them into scored strips - for some utterly bizarre reason I still have a distaste for squid rings. But I do love the tentacles!
Is it big headed to say these were the best calamari I've ever had? The coating was so crunchy and flavourful - I ended up just pigging out on these and passed on my main! Even if you don't try the flavours - have a go at this 'batter' method - it was so effective.
* Yes, I have a bit of a backlog of posts to publish at the moment!
** Yep, that dish ain't up yet either - but it's underway and will be with you soon!
*** As it turns out, dust them with garam masala, chill powder and a wee bit salt and they're lovely... Just don't put too much in. I almost had an oil explosion. Note to self, don't get cocky with boiling fat.
Szechuan Squid with Sweet Chilli Sauce
- 2 large squid, cleaned and cut into scored strips
- 100 ml milk
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 5 tbsp corn flour
- 1 tbsp white flour
- 1 tbsp szechuan pepper corns
- 1 tsp black pepper corns
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp sea salt
Prepare the squid...
Place the squid and the garlic into the milk and set aside in the fridge for at least an hour. Apparently this softens the squid, but I used it mostly to create a self-making batter...
Mix up the flour...
Pound the peppers, salt and chilli in a mortar and pestle, mix with the two flours in a food bag.
Prepare the squid (part deux)...
Pour off the milk from the squid, and shake off the excess - don't worry about being too thorough though.
Put the squid in the bag with the flour/spice mix and shake very well until all the squid is coated.
Remove the squid from the bag and shake off the excess. Leave the squid in the fridge for a further half hour - this will set the milk with the flour - and become your crunchy batter.
That's the most important bit - try not to skip it!
Prepare the chilli sauce...
Put 6 chopped chillies, 1oog sugar, 50ml vinegar and 50 ml water into a sauce pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes!
Heat the oil so that a cube of bread takes about 30 seconds to brown. (or a cooked noodle - that's how it all started ;). Fry off the squid in a couple of batches, making sure you don't over crowd the pan. I let mine cook for about 45-60 seconds - cook for longer at your peril!