Thursday, 17 November 2011

Salt, Pepper & Chilli Squid & Prawns

I made this for us on Sunday.  It's one of my favourite things and it's pretty quick and easy to knock up.  Perhaps not the ultra healthiest as it's fried but drain off any oil really well and as you only have a starter size portion it could be worse.  (That is assuming you do only have a starter size portion!!)  I adapted my recipe from one found here on the Gastronomy Domine blog.

For 4 starters: (Halve it for 2)
500g raw squid and raw shelled prawns mixed - or all one or the other whatever you like.  Get your fishmonger to clean the squid for you and cut into thin rings and the tentacles into short lengths - 2 inches ish.
3tbsp rice flour
3tbsp cornflour
1-2 fresh chillies - to your taste
2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns - whole
1 tbsp freshly ground (for preference) black pepper
1-2 tbsp sea salt (I actually used the lemon fennel and chili salt I bought at the farmers market a little while back)
Oil - for frying so sunflower / vegetable etc

Dry fry the Szechuan peppercorns in a heavy pan for a few mins to release the flavours.  (If you have trouble finding Szechuan peppercorns try health food shops or oriental supermarkets.)  They're less solidly dense than the black ones so you can crumble the odd one up a little with your fingers to add to the textures of this dish and make the flavour of them more accessible having more available surface area.
Slice and chop the chilli finely aiming for small squares no bigger than the peppercorns - it's up to you whether you leave the seeds in or not - of course depending what type of chilli you're using as well.  I used Aji Limon - a yellow one with a slight citrus taste that's nicely hot but doesn't blow your head off and I only used one so I left the seeds in.  [This is the one plant of mine from the 13 chilli plants in 11 different varieties the Chap brought up this year!]  Incidentally if you're as rabidly paranoid as I am (fueled by all those horror stories of people inadequately washing their hands then touching their parts in the bathroom or rubbing their eyes etc) then you can get a pack of these plastic gloves and use those for chopping chillies.  They can be washed and reused as long as you haven't holed them and their tight enough to the hand to enable you to feel properly to chop.
Place the chilli, flours, salt and black pepper in a bowl and add the Szechuan peppers once done and mix well together. 

Put the oil on to heat - about an inch deep will suffice.  It needs to be frying temp - 180/190ish C (that's 350-370ish F or when a cube of bread browns in 60 secs).
Gently dredge the squid pieces and whole prawns in the mixture and fry them off in batches.  Use a slotted / holed spoon and keep turning them regularly; removing from the oil once golden and crisped to your taste.
Drain on  kitchen towel and serve.  A fresh crispy lettuce side would provide a refreshing contrast with this and a piquant chilli dipping sauce of some kind would also work.  Yum!

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