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Spice-Salted Squid

by , featured in Persiana: Recipes From The Middle East & Beyond
Published by Mitchell Beazley
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No matter what form of squid I have eaten - whether in curries, chargrilled, stuffed, baked or deep-fried - I adore the stuff. It is still relatively cheap to buy, especially when frozen, which is perfectly fine. I like to use the smaller squid tubes rather than the giant ones, which I find comparatively tough. In this dish, the squid is crunchy and delicious. The same cooking method and coating also works well with tiger prawns.

Image of Sabrina Ghayour's Spice-Salted Squid
Photographs by Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton


Serves: 4-6 as part of a mezze

  • 700 millilitres vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 750 grams baby squid (frozen works well)
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1½ teaspoons turmeric
  • 70 grams cornflour


Spice-Salted Squid is a guest recipe by Sabrina Ghayour so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

  1. Put the oil in a large, preferably slightly deep, frying pan (or even in a cooking pot, if you prefer) over a high heat and allow it to get nice and hot, but do not let it smoke.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the squid tubes into rings - up to about 1cm (½ in) thick is ideal - and leave the tentacles whole. Dry them as best as possible using a clean tea towel or kitchen paper and set aside.
  3. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the peppercorns as best you can, then add the sea salt and other spices and grind them until they are evenly combined. You don't need to make a fine powder of the spices, so don't worry about the odd chunks of broken peppercorns.
  4. Combine the cornflour with the spice mix in a plastic sandwich or freezer bag and give the mixture a good shake to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add the squid and toss the flour and spices lightly over it without excessively handling the squid itself, as otherwise you will create a paste when the flour combines with the juice of the squid, which you want to avoid.
  5. Shake off the excess flour from the squid pieces and fry them in batches, without overcrowding the pan too much. Cook each batch for about 1-1½ minutes, depending on the oil temperature, or until you can see them browning and becoming crispy. Using a slotted spoon, drain the squid on plates lined with kitchen paper and serve hot.

Additional Information

Variation: To make a quick dip, stir some quince paste into a tube of shop-bought aioli to give it a real Middle Eastern flavour.

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