Salt & pepper squid

by Cristian Hossack | Cuisine issue #156
Serves: 4 as a entreeA taste of Waiheke Island's chic new eatery, guesthouse and boutique, The Oyster Inn.

500g cleaned squid tubes and tentacles
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 banana shallots (or regular shallots), finely diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced coriander root
1 birdseye chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
100g cornflour
50g rice flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil for deep-frying
40 fresh green peppercorns
small handful micro coriander cress
lime wedges to serve

Cut the squid tubes in half lengthways. Put on a board, insides facing up, and remove any residual innards. Use a sharp knife to gently score lines in the flesh in a criss-cross pattern then cut into 2cm strips. Cut the tentacles into bite-sized pieces then put all the squid in a colander to drain. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat the canola oil in a frying pan then fry the shallots until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander root and chilli and fry gently over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the oyster sauce, fish sauce and 1⁄4 cup water then taste and add a little more water if needed.

Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and cool slightly before stirring in the lime juice. Set aside.

Meanwhile, mix the cornflour, rice flour, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Coat the squid well in the flour mix then shake off any excess.

Heat the vegetable oil to 180°C in a deep-fryer or in a wok until the surface is shimmering. Deep-fry the squid, in small batches, until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

Toss the squid quickly in the sauce mix then garnish with peppercorns and cress. Serve with lime wedges.

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