Salt and pepper squid and neglected partners

Salt and pepper squid with five-spice

Who here doesn’t feed their partner enough or properly? Is it just me?

The Fella is kind of, slightly, severely allergic to fish and seafood. Something I really find quite inconvenient, and just a little bit annoying. Have I really just agreed to marry a man who can’t ever eat fish, like ever?

The upside of this little issue is that when we eat out, I can always order the fish. I also get to have a taste of his dish and never have to share any of my own. Double brilliant!

The downside is, whenever I decide to make fish at home I get hit with a myriad of complaints:

“Fish?! Ahhhh but what am I going to eat?”

“Eaugh, it smells like fish, I HATE fish and I’m hungry…”

“Why don’t you ever feed me? Don’t you love me?”

Salt and pepper mix

I’d go on, but I suspect you get the point.

I indulged in a little bit of partner neglect last weekend when I whipped up some salt and pepper squid. I ignored the foot stomping and jibes about how he is wasting away; and how a proper little woman would look after her man by making him a nice (large) lunch of the non-fishy variety. Instead, I set to work on not overcooking the squid.

When it comes to fish and seafood, I lack a lot of confidence, possibly because I cook it so rarely. But several visits to Sydney Seafood School in the past year (and more to come – thanks to my lovely family!) have really helped. I’ve learned that the trick for beautiful tender squid is all in the preparation.  Squid is delicious; rubber is not so much. But with a little bit of practice, I’m pleased to say I pulled it off – delicious, rubber-free, spicy, crispy squid. Although, I guess you’ll just have to take my word on that. As I was the only one eating it, no-one will ever really know for sure, will they?

Salt and pepper squid

Salt and pepper squid

This recipe is from Les Huynh’s beautiful book Blue Ginger and serves two.


400 g squid tubes
vegetable oil, for deep frying
4 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp mixed ground white and black pepper
2 tsps caster sugar
small pinch of five-spice powder (Les Huynh reckons this is his secret ingredient)
1 handful of lettuce, shredded
2 lime halves
2 spring onions, julienned
1 handful of coriander
1 red chilli, deseeded and julienned

Open up the squid tubes and lay them flat. Apparently, the trick to perfect squid is carefully removing the mucus-y membrane on the inside; this is what’s going to make it tough. Scrape it all away using a paper towel. Score the inside of the flesh with a criss-cross pattern and cut into 2 x 5 cm pieces. Coat the squid in the corn flour, shaking any excess off.

Mix together the salt, pepper, sugar and five-spice and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok (I used about 4 cm) to 140 ◦C. This is the other key part of the cooking process, the oil needs to be hot enough to cook the squid through and quickly, otherwise you’ll get the dreaded rubbery squid syndrome. Les Huynh recommends testing it with a piece of bread before hand, if a cube of bread browns in about 45 seconds in it, it’s hot enough. Deep-fry the squid in small batches for 3-4 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper mix, making sure all the pieces are well coated.

Serve on a bed of lettuce. Sprinkle with the spring onion, coriander and chilli and a good squeeze of lime.

Enjoy, but do remember to keep any from any allergic partners.



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5 thoughts on “Salt and pepper squid and neglected partners

  1. Well, it certainly LOOKS delicious! It sounds great, too and your photos are beautiful. Whenever I meet men with dating potential, it’s important for me to find out if they like seafood and sushi, since that’s the majority of what I eat and cook. I’m glad to hear you’re working through this challenge 😉

    • Thanks Rachel. Yes, I guess if I only ate fish it would be much more of an issue. It’s funny though, I also used to have a pretty comprehensive dating checklist and if I was using it the day The Fella and I met, he would never have had a shot. But I’d left my list at home that day and seven years later here we are! Not that I recommend you to run out and find yourself a pork fanatic, there are some differences just too large to overcome!!

  2. I love squid, too, and your salt & pepper squid looks great!

    The same thing happens at my house whenever I want to cook anything that has visible onions… Paula’s not allergic, though; she just hates the texture of onions that are not completely blended up or disintegrated. Lucky for us, sometimes the answer to “but what am * I * going to eat?” is just the same thing that I’m eating, but put through the blender (gross), or else some kind of spontaneous taco or sandwich.

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