Sunday, November 10, 2013

Salt & Pepper Squid (Jiao Yan You Yu)

Okay, I'm still befuddled as to whether squid and calamari are the same animal. Is calamari the Italian name for squid or is calamari actually cuttlefish? But then that begs the question, is a squid a de facto cuttlefish/calamari? If anyone's the wiser, please do enlighten me! Anyhoo, this is a scrumptious, addictive, and easy-to-make Chinese appetizer.

24 oz. squid or calamari, cleaned and cut into 1" bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. Shaoxing or rice wine
1 cup potato starch
2 cups vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, chopped
2 red jalapeño or Fresno chiles, seeded and sliced
1 green jalapeño, seeded and sliced
3/4 tsp. Szechuan Peppercorn Salt 
White pepper

1. Place the cleaned and diced squid into a medium bowl. Toss with the Shaoxing wine and let marinate for 15-20 minutes. 

2. Place 1 cup of potato starch into a shallow baking dish or casserole. 

3. Drain the wine/liquid from the squid and then dredge them in the potato starch. 

4. Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in a medium wok or sauté pan over high heat. Cook the battered squid in 2 batches for 5-6 minutes at at time until the squid is lightly browned. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. 

5. Pour out all but 1 tbsp. of oil in the pan, turn heat up to medium, then add the minced garlic, scallions and sliced chile peppers. Saute for 30 seconds, turn the heat up to high, then add the fried squid back to the pan. Sprinkle with the ground Szechuan peppercorns and a generous dose of white pepper. Toss for a few seconds, then remove to a serving platter. 

 See - the labeling is confusing. It's called 'Squid Steak - Calamari.'

Cut these guys into 1" squares. 

 Marinate 15-20 minutes in Shaoxing wine or rice wine.

 Drain all the liquid from the squid and then dredge them in potato flour.

Minced garlic, sliced chiles and chopped scallions.  

Fry the floured squid for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned. 

Remove the fried calamari to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

 Pour out all but 1 tbsp. of oil in the pan and sauté the garlic, scallions and sliced chiles.

Add the fried calamari back to the pan. Season with Szechuan peppercorn salt and white pepper. 

This version consists of smaller squid with more tentacles, etc. 

This version has no tentacles. The package was labeled as 'calamari,' so maybe calamari is just a meatier version of squid. But who cares, because they all taste good!

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