In many Chinese restaurants in Winnipeg, the Salt and Pepper Squid is so salty and plus it’s not that spicy to my liking. Here, I tried to imitate one by reducing the salt, adding red bell pepper and more heat with more chilies.
I love using squids that still have tentacles. When we deep fry the tentacles, they become so crunchy. Unfortunately, this time I used frozen squids that have been carving. My suggestion if you have fresh whole squids, you better use that source
Chinese Salt and Pepper Squid
1 lb (454 grams) frozen carved squids, thawed
4 1/2 tsps sea salt
1 1/2 tsps Sichuan peppercorns, toasted over medium low-heat in a pan (no oil) for about 3 minutes
50 grams all purpose flour
80 grams rice flour
1 egg, beaten
4 Thai bird chilies, roughly chopped (use less for milder spice)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into sticks or julienned
2 stalks green onions, cut into 2cm
oil for deep frying
Rinse the thawed squid in water and pat dry with paper towels. Any extra water on the squid will create more popping and spattering of hot oil when you fry them.
In a mortar and pestle, crush the toasted Sichuan peppercorns and salt together to create a coarse mixture. In a bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of the Sichuan peppercorn salt with squid and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Prepare 2 bowls, one is for flour and another one is for beaten egg. Also prepare a plastic bag and fill with a mix of rice flour and 1 teaspoon of the Sichuan peppercorn salt.
Transfer the marinated squids into a bowl of flour and toss. Shake off the excess. One by one, dredge squid pieces in egg, then place in bag with a rice flour mixture. Toss until every piece is well-coated.
Mix the Thai chilis and green onions together and set aside in a large bowl.
In a wok, heat about 4-5cm (1 1/2-2 inches) of oil over high heat to achieve a temperature of 375°F (190°C). Shake off the excess rice flour mixture before placing into a hot wok. With tongs or chopsticks, pick up some of the squid (no more than a fifth of the total).
Fry until the squid turns a light golden color. Remove from the oil and set on a cooling rack to drain. Repeat until all of the squid is cooked. Remove the oil from the wok. Still on the stove, toss sliced onions and red bell pepper cut until a bit soft but still crunchy about under a minute. Turn the heat off, toss the (still hot) squid with the chili, green onions, and remaining Sichuan peppercorn salt and serve immediately.