Giving salt and pepper squid a fun twist with a tasty noodle salad, this colourful and punchy dish is packed full of delicious Asian flavours and is the perfect meal to welcome spring.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
150g/5 oz. cornflour, seasoned with salt and black pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 chillies, finely diced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Large pinch of salt after frying
Large pinch of black pepper after frying
Vegetable oil for frying
Noodle Salad with Nuoc Cham Dressing:
150g/5 oz. thick vermicelli noodles
1.5 tablespoons caster sugar
1.5 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1-2 limes (juice)
¼ - ½ chili, finely diced
½ clove garlic, crushed
1cm (0.5 inch) ginger, grated
Small handful of basil, coriander and mint leaves, roughly chopped
Fried shallots (store bought)
1. Chop off the squid tentacles just below the eyes. Pull out the squid's innards and discard them. Remove the beak from the tentacles, it will be a cylinder shape. Remove the long feeler tentacle and cut the remaining tentacles in half. Set the tentacles aside in a prep bowl.
2. Peel off the purple membrane of the squid's body by pushing your index finger underneath the squid wing. The membrane should peel off easily. Place the wings with the tentacles.
3. Remove the quill, a transparent backbone within the squid.
4. Cut the squids in half and thoroughly scrape out remaining guts. Wash the squids and dry them with kitchen paper.
5. Scour the squid body and wings diagonally in both directions, in a criss-cross pattern on one side only. Cut into bite size pieces, approximately 2cm (1 inch) in width and 3-4cm (2 inches) in length. Set the squid pieces aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
6. For the nuoc cham dressing, mix the water with the sugar, lime juice and fish sauce. Add the crushed garlic, finely chopped chilli and grated ginger and stir together. Taste the dressing, it should be a nice balance of salty, sweet, hot and sour. Adjust the seasoning with additional sugar, fish sauce and lime if necessary.
7. Roughly chop the coriander, basil and mint leaves to garnish your salad.
8. Finely chop garlic, chilli and spring onions for your salt and pepper squid, set aside.
9. To prepare the squid for cooking, dry the squid again with kitchen paper. Season the squid with salt and pepper, and then place the squid pieces into a large bowl of the seasoned cornflour. Massage the cornflour into the squid until it is covered well.
10. Heat enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a wok or pan generously. The oil should be hot enough that the squid sizzles when it touches the oil. Fry the squid in batches, you do not want to overcrowd the pan. The squid should cook in 1 to 1.5 minutes total, so ensure you turn the squid piece over halfway. When the squid is done, place it onto kitchen paper to drain the oil. Repeat until all the squid has been pan fried.
11. Meanwhile, place a pot of water on the hob and cook the noodles to the manufacturer's instructions. You can serve the noodles hot or cold. If you wish for them to be cold, run the noodles under cold running water for 30 seconds after they are cooked.
12. Wipe out your pan or wok and heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a high heat. Add the chillies and garlic for 1 min. Return the squid to the pan and mix together with the chillies and garlic for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the squid from the heat.
13. Season the squid with salt and pepper again - ensuring you taste as you season.
14. To serve, stir the dressing through the noodles and place onto a plate. Pile the squid onto the centre of the noodle heap and garnish with spring onions, the chopped herb leaves and fried onions. Serve immediately.