Szechuan Tempura Calamari

Szechuan Pepper Tempura Calamari with an Orange and Watercress Salad and Lime Mayonnaise

My take on Salt and Pepper Squid, with a bit of Asian Fusion (Chinese and Japanese influences) and Citrus Sweetness

  • 250 grams of cleaned, squid rings
  • 1 cup of Tempura flour
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 1 tablespoon of ground Szechuan Pepper
  • Salt Flakes
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • A cup of cleaned Watercress
  • A handful of picked Basil Leaves
  • A handful of Coriander leaves
  • An Orange, peeled and cut into segments
  • 1 teaspoon of Lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of Orange juice

For the Mayonnaise

  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of Lime Juice
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 cup of Vegetable oil

First of all, let’s make the Mayonnaise, which is really simple, and once you’ve made your own, you’ll never buy it again.  Simply place the egg yolks, Dijon Mustard, Rice Wine Vinegar, Salt and Lime Juice in a bowl, and whisk until all of the ingredients have been well combined.  Now, if you are proud of your whisking action, you can try this next step by hand, other wise, get a electric mixer and use it on low for this part.  Whilst whisking (or electric mixing if your cheating) slowly drizzle the oil into the mix until it is all mixed in, and emulsified.  The mayonnaise will slowly thicken with the increasing oil.  If you like thick mayonnaise, just add some extra oil whilst mixing.  Once it’s a pale, yellow bowl of awesome, give it a taste, and if need be season with some extra salt, or add a few extra drops of lime juice.  Once done, cover your bowl with cling film and place it in the fridge.  Sorted.

Time for the squid.  Take all of your squid out and lay out on some paper towel to dry it out.  In a big bow, place your Tempura flour and Szechuan pepper and whisk in the cold water until all of the lumps are gone.  You want a fairly thin consistency, so if it needs a little more water to thin it out, go for it.  Lightly dust your squid with some extra flour, making sure it’s totally covered.  In a deep dished pan or a wok, fill with enough vegetable oil to deep fry (around 30mm deep.)  Crank the heat up.  You’ll know when it’s at temperature becuase the oil will look like it’s shimmering.
Take your floured squid and in small batches drop the individual rings into the tempura batter, drip the excess batter off and then place the squid into the hot oil.  Be careful as you’ll get a bubbling explosion.  Now squid should be cooked very fast, so it should only take 25 seconds on each side to crisp up the batter and cook the squid.  Remove when slightly golden (tempura battered food is usually quite pale, the pepper will give this batter some colour) and place on a kitchen paper lined bowl to soak up the excess oil.  Once all of your squid is cooked, sprinkle a little salt over them.

For the salad, easy, combine all of your leaves, the orange segments, the juices and a little salt and you’re done.

In terms of plating up, however you want to do it is up to you, but when you eat it, just make sure you try to get some of the spicy squid, the mayo and some of the salad with the orange in your gob at once, it’s awesome.  This was a little Saturday afternoon experiment that really worked out, and something that will definitely make another appearance.

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