Salt & pepper squid is one of my favourite dishes from our local Chinese takeaway. It costs £4.80 for a portion that serves two, which is actually quite reasonable for a seafood dish. But of course you have to order a minimum of £10 to get free delivery. Then there’s the fact you don’t really know what’s in it or who cooked it, and a lot of takeaways add MSG (monosodium glutamate – an artificial flavour enhancer) to their food. There’s a reason why a slap-up takeaway always results in a raging thirst and a weird hangover the next day. Don’t get me wrong. I blooming love a Chinese takeaway. When the urge hits, an MSG hangover is totally worth it once in a while.
But I digress. I saw Phil Vickery making this on This Morning a while ago. I’ve never bought squid before. Wouldn’t know where to begin. And there’s no way in hell you’ll see me handling a … shudder … ink sack. Blurgh. But Ocado happened to stock a pack of prepared squid. It looks like this:
Very clean. No gross bits. It cost £3.99 for 400g (enough for four people) and the rest of the ingredients are things you have in your store cupboard already. Even if you add some stir fry veg, rice or noodles, even a cheeky bag of prawn crackers, you’ll still be spending well under the tenner you’d have handed over to the delivery guy.
An added bonus is that this takeaway alternative genuinely tastes very similar to (or dare I say better than) the original. Give it a go! Let me know what you think.
400g prepared squid tubes
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Pat the squid dry with a cloth or kitchen paper, then slice it up into bitesize strips. I used kitchen scissors to cut it up. Very quick and easy, no mess.
Put a pan of oil on to heat up. You need it nice and hot and you’ll probably have to cook the squid in small batches. Meanwhile set up a little system. The squid takes only a minute or two to cook completely so you need to be organised and fast! You’re going to treat the squid in the following order: seasoning, flour, milk, flour again, into the hot oil, then onto some kitchen paper.
I set up a plate with the seasoning mix, a shallow bowl for the milk, another plate for the flour, then I had my hot pan ready to go, and a large dish lined with kitchen paper ready for the cooked squid.
Coating the squid prior to frying is a messy business. My top tip is to have a sink of soapy water standing ready. Your fingers will be caked in batter. This makes it tricky to turn on a tap to wash them while your squid is burning on the other side of the kitchen! Ok. Sorted? Ready? Away you go!
Just a minute or so and they’re done. Light, golden and crispy.
If I’d been more organised, I’d have done some veg but as it is, I served mine with plain rice and a dribble of sweet chilli sauce.