One of the all time favorite Chinese fried squid dishes is the renowned Salt and Pepper Squid. Chinese chefs appear to have special ways of preparing and cooking squid dishes so that the squid is tender and spicy. Many home cooks get frustrated when the shallow fried, stir-fried or deep fried squid they prepare and cook turns out rubbery, oily or lifeless in terms of taste and texture.
Well despair no more, because this article reveals the ancient Chinese secrets of cooking the perfect salt and pepper squid dishes at home.
Discover the best batters, the way of preparing the raw squid, and the marinades used so that it is tender when fried. See some fabulous recipes and great tips for cooking squid the Chinese way.
To prepare the squid Chinese style, position the calamari tube or squid flat on a chopping board. Slice down one side using a sharp knife to open up the tube so it sits flat. Flip it over so the inside sits facing up. Using a sharp knife carefully score a series of diagonal slits into the squid flesh that are about 5 mm (1/4 inch apart). The slits should go about half-way through Then repeat making a series of slits at right angles create a lattice effect. Next cut the squid into squares about 4cm x 4 cm (1.5in x 1.5 in) in size. Set aside for coating or stir frying or you can marinade the squid using one of the recipes described below.
Marinades are not absolutely necessary but many people claim they make the squid more tender and enhance the flavor. Some of the options are:
Place all ingredients in bowl, add the squid and marinate for several hours or overnight
Mix all the ingredients in bowl, add the squid and set aside to marinate for several hours
Basil, Chili and Garlic Marinade
Combine all ingredients add the squid and marinade in the refrigerator for 1- 3 hours
There are various options for various types of dishes, For salt and pepper squid see the recipes below. The squid pieces should be dried slightly to remove excess moisture, Some of the options are:
Tempura Coating for Squid
Remove the tentacles from the squid, slice along one side of the tubes and lay flat. Cut into squares or triangles. Score the inside of each piece diagonally for form a diamond pattern. Heat a dry frying pan and toast the peppercorns briefly to activate their aroma.
Transfer the peppercorns into a pestle and mortar, add the salt, and grind to form a fine powder. In a small bowl, mix about 2/3 of the powder with the potato flour. Beat the egg in a second bowl. Half fill a large pan, deep fryer or wok with oil and heat to 180 degrees C (355 degrees F).
When hot, start frying the squid pieces. Dip each piece in the egg, then roll and rub in the flour mixture until well coated.
Fry in small batches until each pieces is a pale golden brown color. Stir to ensure the pieces don't stick to the bottom. When cooked remove each pieces using a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towels to soak up the excess oil. Add some oil to a frying pan and add the spring onion, chili and garlic. While stirring, fry the garlic and onions briefly until the contents starts to caramelise. Then add the squid to the pan and toss together. Sprinkle with salt and fresh herbs and some wedges of lime.
Several squid, or squid tubes weighing about 250g (9oz) each, cleaned
For each tube you will need a batch of this mixture
Take each of the cleaned squids, slice down one side of the tube and open flat. Lightly score the inside of the flesh in a diagonal criss-cross pattern. Cut into the pieces at the size you want.
Mix the cumin, lemon zest, salt, garlic and olive oil. Rub this mixture into the squid and set aside to marinate for a 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
Heat your grill plate until very hot. Remove the squid from the marinade and brush off the excess marinade (as it is likely to burn). Grill each side of the squid pieces for 1-2 minutes (just cook them; any longer and they will toughen). Serve the squid pieces immediately with coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice.
For the squid:
For the sauce:
Combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside. Add the oil to a wok and heat to medium-high. And add the ginger and mix to flavor the oil and then add the garlic and the squid (in batches if your hear source is small. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently until the squid is just barely cooked. Add a dash of water to the wok and then pour in the sauce and mix well to coat all the squid pieces. Add the cashew nuts, dried chilies, onions and spring onions. Mix briefly and then lower the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes until warmed through. Serve immediately.