Crispy squid with Nam Prik Pao and Cucumber RelishRecipe by Emily Kydd Photography by Louise Hagger
Chinese-inspired salty, tender squid with a crunchy outer coating.
It gets an extra kick from a sticky Thai chilli jam, and is beautifully balanced by a cool cucumber relish.
Serves 4-6 as a starter
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 8 minutes
For the Squid
500g baby squid, cleaned, including tentacles
1 litre sunflower oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped
small handful coriander, leaves picked and roughly chopped
nam prik pao or other chilli dipping sauce, to serve
For the Cucumber Relish
1/4 cucumber, peeled
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
small handful roasted peanuts, crushed
For the relish, halve the cucumber lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Thinly slice and place in a bowl with the shallot, sugar and a good pinch of salt. Pour over the soy sauce and rice vinegar and stir well. Set aside.
Cut the body of the squid into 5cm pieces, then score a criss-cross diamond pattern into the flesh, without cutting all the way through. Keep the tentacles whole. Measure the cornflour into a shallow bowl and stir through 2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Place a large pan over a high heat and pour in all but 1 tbsp of the oil. Heat the oil to 190C.
Dredge the squid really well in the seasoned flour, then shake off any excess and deep-fry in batches for 1-2 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper. Once you’ve cooked all the squid, place a wok over a high heat and pour in 1 tbsp oil. Throw in the chilli, garlic and cooked squid and toss in the wok for 1 minute. Sprinkle over the coriander and toss briefly, then transfer to a serving plate and season with a little salt. Top the cucumber relish with the chilli and peanuts, and serve with a bowl of nam prik pao alongside the crispy squid.