Scrummy salt & pepper squid with pak choi


This was a welcome home meal I prepared for my dear husband after he had been away for two weeks. I love squid and it is very inexpensive; here’s how to salt and pepper it without it being deep fried; the sichuan peppercorns add a little extra zing. Remember to pat the squid dry otherwise you won’t get a crunchy finish. To make it really crisp, you could do the whole lot on a griddle.

For the squid

1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 squid, cleaned, scored and cut into rings
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
3 spring onions, sliced
1 lime, quartered, for garnish

For the pak choi

4 heads pak choi, roughly chopped
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 tbsp finely sliced ginger
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

For the squid:
Heat a frying pan until smoking, then add the black peppercorns and Sichuan peppercorns and dry fry for a few seconds, shaking the pan frequently, until the peppercorns darken slightly and become aromatic.

Tip the peppercorns into a pestle and mortar and crush to a coarse mixture, then stir in the sea salt.

Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking, then add half of the sunflower oil and half of the squid. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the squid is just beginning to colour. Tip out onto a plate, then add the remaining oil and the rest of the squid, stir frying for 1-2 minutes, or until the squid is lightly coloured.

Return the first batch of the squid to the pan, then sprinkle over the salt and peppercorn mixture. (If you think it might be too hot/strong, you can save some of the mixture for another recipe.) Toss together for about 10 seconds, or until the squid is evenly coated with the mixture, then add the red chilli and spring onions. Stir fry over a high heat for a further 30 seconds, or until the squid is golden-brown. Remove the squid from the wok and keep warm.

For the pak choi:
Heat a frying pan until smoking, then add the vegetable oil, followed by the garlic, chilli, ginger and spring onions. Stir fry for one minute, then add the pak choi and sesame oil and mix well to combine. I cover and steam this for a couple of minutes until the pak choi is wilted.

To serve, pile the pak choi onto the centre of a serving plate and top with the squid. Serve garnished with a wedge of lime. I also knocked up a quick pomelo salad, but you could equally just have rice.


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