Salt and pepper squid


Squid and I have a funny relationship.  I really like squid but don’t (before now) make it at home.  This is because the couple of times I have tried to cook it, I have ended up with rubber.  And I don’t get much encouragement from Maus.  Maus is not a fan of squid or seafood, generally, for that matter.

Because of the above, and the fact that seafood is good for me,  whenever I see squid on a restaurant menu,  I order it.  I am sure all my friends and rellies think I love squid.

The other day, I was reading John’s (from the Bartolini kitchens) post, Zia’s baked calamari and I thought, “That sounds easy enough, I might try that.”  So squid was on my mind.

Then, a few days later when I was looking for something for dinner, I  picked up Masterchef Australia from my bookshelf.  It is not a book I have used much so I thought I would check it out again.  The book fell open at Brent Parker Jones’ salt and pepper squid.  The squid was served with a fresh Asian-style salad.  I was interested.  I noted that the instructions on what to do with the squid were quite detailed so I thought I would give it a bash.  Maus would have to brave up to squid for dinner.

I sent Maus off to the local seafood shop.  She came home with two squid tubes, each about 15cm long.  They were already cleaned.  It was more than enough for two.

The recipe turned out amazingly well.  The squid was wonderfully tender.  Maus ate every piece on her plate.  I was surprised.  I was sure she would say she wasn’t hungry (Maus’ code for “I don’t like it”).

Serves 2


  • 75g cornflour
  • 75g rice flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 squid tubes, cleaned
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 egg whites
  • oil for deep frying


Here are the instructions which I followed to a “T”.

  1. Cut the squid tubes lengthways and open them out flat.
  2. Lightly scrape the inside with a sharp knife to remove the translucent film.  Brent advises this film can make the squid tough and chewy.   [This part was a bit tricky.  Maybe our knife was not as sharp as it could have been but we really didn’t get much off by scraping the squid.  In the end, I got some tweezers and tried to pull some of the film off but got bored pretty quickly.  Maus lasted longer than me.  Dinner was great so it did not seem to matter too much.]
  3. Wash and pat the squid dry.
  4. Using a sharp knife (Maus had sharpened ours by now), score the inside of the squid in a criss-cross pattern, ie, cut  lines across the squid on a 45 degree angle about one centimetre apart.  Turn the squid 90° and do the same again.  You will end up with little diamonds.  This is much easier than it sounds.  Just make sure you don’t cut all the way through.
  5. Cut each piece in half lengthways, then cut each strip crossways into 4 pieces.  If you have the tentacles, cut them into similar lengths.
  6. Place squid in a small bowl and add the fish sauce.  Stir to combine.
  7. Combine the flours, salt, pepper, five-spice and coriander in a bowl.  Mix well.
  8. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl.
  9. Heat the oil in medium saucepan.
  10. Dip each piece of squid into the egg whites then into the flour mixture.  Shake off excess flour.
  11. Cook squid in batches in the hot oil until golden.



  • 2 cups mung bean shoots
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced.

Combine the salad ingredients in a small bowl.  Next time, I will chop the mint leaves.  The whole mint leaves were a bit overwhelming.


There was no where near enough salad dressing.  Maus made it and I didn’t realise how little there was until it was time to drizzle it over the salad and squid.  Either double, or triple, the recipe or make Moya’s (Food and Tools) spicy dressing from her Asian style salad with prawns and spicy dressing.

Brent’s recipe

  • 1 x 20 mil tbs lime juice
  • 1 tsp grated palm sugar (use brown sugar if you don’t have any)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • ½ chilli, seeded and chopped finely

Combine ingredients – stir to ensure sugar is dissolved..

Moya’s spicy salad dressing recipe

  • 2 tbs* brown sugar
  • 3 tbs* lime juice
  • 1 tbs* rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs* grapeseed oil
  • 1½ tbs* fish sauce
  • 1 chilli chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

*These are 15 mil tablespoons.

Combine ingredients.


19 thoughts on “Salt and pepper squid

    • Deep frying is a pain. You use so much oil and then what do you do will all that used oil? We would deep fry once a year so we can’t keep for next time.

  1. I had a need to have s&p squid the other night! No idea where I could buy squid locally but when I find some this will be it’s destiny. Love these flavours.

  2. I love salt & pepper squid as well as squid it its many other guises. My mum introduced me to it many years ago when it was considered quite exotic. In those days it was clean your own only. No such thing as pre-cleaned. I like the use of fish sauce in the recipe to some extra salt, umami and as a bit of a tenderiser. I’ll be sure to give it a go next time I cook squid which, now that I’ve read this, could be sooner rather than later.

    • Hi Sandra, As I am sure you are aware, if you use real corn starch and not the Australian wheat version it would be a gluten free recipe.

  3. Fantastic dish, Glenda, right down to the knife work on the pieces. Very impressive and I’m always happy to learn of another calamari recipe. Thanks for sharing your recipe and for the kindly shoutout. 🙂

  4. Great recipe. I sometimes make one like this without the use of egg whites, for a lighter version.. The key with squid and calamari is to by it fresh from a reliable fishmonger and not the rubber tubes sold in supermarkets. It should never be cooked longer than 1 minute. Or, if slow cooking with wine and peas for a winter braise, 45 minutes or more.
    yes, some home cooks turn squid into fried condoms.

  5. You did a great job on the crisscross pattern on the squid… looks delicious Glenda. Thank you for including my spicy dressing recipe 🙂

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