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Salt and pepper squid with chillied strawberry chutney

Serves 4 as a starter

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes


Chilli and strawberry chutney

3 large mild red chillies, about 40 g (1 ½ oz) in total, halved, deseeded, finely chopped

4 cm (1 ½ inch) piece root ginger, peeled, grated

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, roughly crushed

450 g (1 lb) strawberries, sliced

1 large onion, finely chopped

450 g (1 lb) caster sugar

150 ml (¼ pint) white wine vinegar

4 teaspoons corn flour

1 tablespoon water

Salt and pepper squid

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) baby squid, cleaned, defrosted if frozen

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, finely crushed

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

4 tablespoons corn flour

4 tablespoons plain flour

1 egg white

Sunflower oil for deep frying

Little paprika to garnish, optional

Iceberg lettuce leaves to serve, optional


1)    Put all the ingredients for the chutney, except the corn flour and water into a medium sized saucepan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring from time to time until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat slightly and simmer, stirring from time to time for 30 minutes until the strawberries are soft.

2)    Mix the corn flour with the water until a smooth paste, stir into the chutney and cook for one minute until thickened and smooth. Leave to cool.

3)    Remove the tentacles from inside the squid tubes, rinse tentacles and tubes well in cold water, drain and slice the tubes into 1 cm (½ inch) rings.

4)    Spoon the peppercorns and salt on to a plate, add the corn flour and flour and mix together. Fork the egg white on a second plate to break up.

5)    Half fill a deep saucepan with oil and heat until the surface begins to shimmer. Meanwhile dip a few of the squid rings into the egg white, drain off the excess then toss in the flour. Drop one of the rings into the oil, if it bubbles instantly it is ready. Lower the flour coated squid into the oil with a draining spoon or frying basket. Cook for two-three minutes until the squid is pale golden brown and cooked through, lift out of the oil, drain well and transfer to a second plate lined with kitchen paper.


Continue dipping the squid slices and tentacles in the flour mix and frying in small batches until it is all cooked. Spoon on to fresh squares of kitchen paper or into lettuce leaves set on serving plates, spoon the chutney into small individual dishes, add to plates and serve immediately.