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Recipe: Salt & Pepper Squid From ‘A Helping Hand’ Cookbook

This crispy, family-friendly starter will have you licking your fingers



Serves four

  • 500g squid, including any tentacles
  • 3⁄4 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp salt flakes (Maldon)
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp cornflour


      1. Ask your fishmonger to clean the squid and remove the inner beak. Cut the flesh into rings (about 1-1.5cm wide) and/or triangular pieces, leaving any tentacles whole, unless they’re ridiculously long.
      2. Place the whole peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a high heat and toast them for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and crack and grind them into a lumpy black powder. There is no need to pulverise them into dust, but equally you don’t want enormous un-cracked lumps either. Add the salt and mix well.
      3. Pour the oil into a frying pan and heat. You need the pan to be half full of oil (so add more or less than the stated amount depending on the size of your pan).
      4. In a ziplock bag, shake up the flour, cornflour, salt and pepper. Toss the squid inside and shake it again.
      5. Test the temperature of the oil with a small piece of bread. It should float to the top and turn golden within 20 seconds. You are now ready to fry and will need to do so in batches.
      6. Stand well back as the oil will spatter. Shake off any excess peppery flour from the squid rings back into the bag before adding the pieces of squid to the hot oil. After about 2 minutes, when the batter has turned a light golden colour, turn the rings to cook the other side (for about 1 minute).
      7. Once each batch is ready, transfer the squid onto a plate covered with kitchen towel to absorb any oil. When everything has been cooked, arrange the squid rings on a large plate or platter. Serve immediately.

Tagalog version of recipe here.


Frog Michaels, author of ‘A Helping Hand’

Frog Michaels has worked as an editor at the BBC and as a food and society columnist for Singapore Tatler. She currently contributes to a number of titles including The Telegraph and SilverKris. ‘A Helping Hand’ is her first book and also Singapore’s first and only cookbook to be written in English and Tagalog (www.helpinghandseries.com).