The end result is delicate squid. It is a light batter so the dish is not heavy with oil and the batter stays crisp and gives a good texture. Make with preserved lemon aioli – the two go hand in hand.
After watching an episode of Nigella and seeing her make some fried squid and then coming across a fresh fish stall at the markets this became our lunch one Saturday.
Serves 2 as a lunch
300-320g squid tubes
1 heaped tbs of Szechuan pepper
1 tbs salt
3/4 cup of rice flour
Rice bran oil (Enough to cover the squid – it depends on what you use to fry the squid in)
preserved lemon aioli
1-2 tbs parsley leaves. Roughly chopped.
Give the squid a wash in some salted water.
Lay out some paper towel.
Score each tube: Cut along one side of the tube to open it up. Score (lightly cutting so you don’t cut all the way through, but a mark is made) with a knife one way diagonally, and then the other.
Cut into halves or thirds lengthways depending on the size of the tube.
Place onto the paper towel.
Leave any tentacles whole. Place these onto the paper towel.
Heat the Szechuan pepper in a small pan on high until it is aromatic. Agitate every now and then off the heat. Put back on.
Roughly chop the parsley.
Place the Szechuan pepper in a mortar and pestle. Grind up.
Place the rice flour in a large bowl. Add the pepper and salt. Mix through well with your hands.
Fill a wok or large saucepan with enough rice oil to cover the squid.
Place on the stove or wok burner on a high heat.
The squid is ready to be added once the oil is 180 degrees Celsius, or when you stick a wooden spoon in, the oil will bubble around it.
While you wait, cover a baking tray with newspaper or paper towel. Toss the squid through the rice flour mix.
Once the oil is up to heat, use a slotted spoon or tongs to carefully add the squid to the hot oil.
Oscillate every so often with your utensil to stop the squid from sticking to each other. They will take about 2-3 minutes to cook.
They are ready when starting to turn golden brown.
Carefully remove the squid from the oil and sit on the baking tray lined with paper towel for a minute.
Place the squid on your serving plate. Sprinkle parsley and a little bit of freshly ground pepper on top. Serve the aioli on the side.