Jiao Yan You Yu (椒鹽魷魚): Salt & Pepper Squid

2 small squid (1 lb 7 oz uncleaned, 11 oz cleaned)

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine (Sake or Mirin may be used as a substitute.)

3 tbsp potato flour

1½ cups plus 2 tbsp (400ml) cooking oil

2 tbsp finely chopped garlic

2 tbsp finely sliced spring onion whites

1–2 tbsp finely sliced fresh red chilli

¼ tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper, mixed with ¾ tsp salt

2 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens

Gently tug the tentacles, innards and bony blade out of the body. Cut the tentacles away and pull out the beak. Discard the head, innards and beak. Peel the wings from the body of the squid. Peel away and discard the purplish membrane that covers the wings and body. Rinse everything well in cold water.

Slice open the body of the squid along its length and lay it flat on a board. Score the whole surface in parallel cuts a few millimetres apart. Don’t worry if some of your cuts go through to the board: the squid will taste delicious and look appetizing anyway. Make parallel scores at right angles to the first cuts. You should end up with the whole surface cross-hatched. Do the same with the wings. Cut the body into bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl with the wings and tentacles, add the Shaoxing wine and mix well.

Drain the squid. Add the flour and mix well. Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame to 350°F. Add half the squid and deep-fry until lightly golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat.

Drain off all but 1 tbsp oil. Add the garlic, spring onion whites and chilli to the wok and stir-fry over a medium heat until they smell wonderful. Increase the heat to high, return the squid with the Sichuan pepper and salt mixture to the wok and stir and toss for a minute. Finally, add the spring onion greens, mix well and serve.

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