After I nailed down the technique for frying calamari, it was a cinch to adapt the dish into a Cantonese salt and pepper squid. Fried calamari is stir-fried with garlic, ginger, and fiery green peppers in a sauce reminiscent of Cantonese salt-and-pepper pork chops.
Cornstarch gives the fried squid a lighter crunch, but the combination of semolina flour, all-purpose flour, and cornmeal creates a crunchier, more flavorful coating.
I’m reminded of weekend visits to my grandparents’ house in Queens and Sunday dinners with my family in Chinatown whenever we have this. Due to its rarity, my family and I reserve salt and pepper squid for special occasions solely at Cantonese restaurants.
Following this salt and pepper squid recipe to the letter will result in tender, flavorful squid that will amaze even the most skeptical of eaters.
- 680g of squid
- 5 cloves of sliced garlic
- 2 long hot thinly sliced green peppers (cut lengthwise)
- 5 cups of vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of semolina flour
- 1/3 cup of plain cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon of shaoxing wine
- 2 teaspoons of minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
- In order to start eating squid, you must first prepare it. Do a thorough cold water rinse. To get a single piece of calamari with all the tentacles, cut the hood off with a single cut and save a quarter of an inch. These can be made into bite-size portions by halving the length of the squid if larger squid is used. If you want your calamari to cook evenly, it’s crucial that each piece is about the same size. Remove any excess liquid from the squid and place it in a basin.
- Prepare a marinade of shaoxing wine and sesame oil for the squid. Lightly toss and put aside.
- Put enough oil in a medium-deep saucepan so that it comes about four inches up the side of the pot. Warm the oil up to a temperature of 325 degrees.
- While the oil is heating, have the dry ingredients ready. Combine the semolina flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, salt, and white pepper in a medium basin and stir to combine. Put aside for the time being.
- After the oil has heated up, you may begin dredging the squid. Produce calamari by the fistful, in stages. The squid should be dredged in the dry mixture after being gently squeezed to remove excess liquid.
- Drop the calamari into the hot oil using a long-handled strainer or slotted spoon. Rub the calamari chunks back and forth gently. Fry them for 2–2 1/2 minutes or until golden brown. Get rid of the calamari and spread it out to dry on a platter lined with paper towels. Carefully test the salinity of a single calamari tentacle. Add extra salt to taste right after frying. However, after the squid has been fried, it must be seasoned with freshly cracked white pepper. Fry the squid in these tiny batches, sprinkling with white pepper after each, until it is fully cooked.
- The squid has been cooked, and the next step is to stir-fry it. Prepare a wok by heating it in the middle of the stove. The recipe calls for one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Put the ginger in the oil and let it cook. Incorporate the garlic after 20 seconds. Quickly move the garlic about the wok with a spoon to keep it from burning. Stir in the peppers until the garlic turns golden brown. Add another 30 seconds of stir-frying time.
- Stir fry the squid for a minute in the aromatic mixture after adding it to the pan. Serve over white rice immediately. In addition, don’t throw away the fried bits of garlic and pepper.