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Stir-Fried Salt and Pepper Squid


  • 750g/1½lb squid, cleaned

  • ½ tsp black peppercorns

  • ½ tsp sichuan peppercorns

  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 1 medium-hot red finger chilli, thinly sliced (seeds removed if you prefer)

  • 3 spring onions, sliced

  • For the Salad

  • 1/2 cucumber

  • a handful beansprouts

  • a large handful watercress

  • ¼tsp caster sugar

  • a pinch of salt


  • 1.

    For the salad, cut the cucumber lengthways into short strips. Toss with the beansprouts and watercress and set aside in the fridge until needed.

  • 2.

    Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and salt.

  • 3.

    Cut along one side of each squid pouch and open it out flat. Score the inner side in a diamond pattern with the tip of a small, sharp knife and then cut into 5cm/2inch squares. Separate the tentacles if large.

  • 4.

    Heat a small, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. Add the black peppercorns and Sichuan peppercorns and dry-roast them for a few seconds, shaking the pan now and then, until they darken slightly and become aromatic. Tip into a mortar and crush coarsely with the pestle, then stir in the sea salt flakes.

  • 5.

    Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking. Add half the oil and half the squid and stir-fry it for 2 minutes, until lightly coloured. Tip on to the plate, then cook the remaining squid in the same way.

  • 6.

    Return the first batch of squid to the wok and add 1 tsp of the salt and pepper mixture (the rest can be used in other stir fries).

  • 7.

    Toss together for about 10 seconds, then add the red chilli and spring onions and toss together very briefly. Divide the squid between 4 serving plates. Toss the salad with the dressing and pile alongside the squid, then serve immediately.

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