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Calamari with Chilli Sauce

Calamari with chilli sauce, mint and basil salad with sprouts and radish.

Ingredients

  • Tomato chilli dressing
  • 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 coriander roots, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 each of long red and green chillies, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ripe cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 small green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 small red shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp light palm sugar, finely crushed
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) lime juice, or to taste
  • Sichuan flour mix
  • 10 gm (1 tbsp) Sichuan peppercorns
  • 100 gm (2/3 cup) cornflour
  • Dipping Mixture
    • 2 tsp fish sauce
    • 1 tbsp cornflour, to bind
  • For deep-frying:
    • vegetable oil
    • 500 gm (about 6) baby or bottle squid tubes, scored in a 5cm-crisscross pattern
  • To serve:
    • fried golden shallots and garlic, fresh basil, mint, sprouts and a lime cheek

Cooking Method

  1. Tomato chilli dressing
    For tomato dressing, combine garlic and coriander root in a mortar and, using a pestle, pound to a coarse paste. Add long chillies and pound to a fine paste. Add tomatoes and pound until just pulped, then add green chilli, shallot, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and stir to dissolve.
  2. Sichuan flour mix
    For Sichuan flour mix, toast peppercorns in a frying pan over medium heat for 2 minutes or until aromatic, then finely grind using a mortar and pestle. Sift through a fine sieve, discarding husks. Combine pepper, cornflour and 3 tsp fine sea salt in a bowl. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  3. Dipping Mixture
    Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large wok to 190. Whisk fish sauce, cornflour and 1/3 cup cold water in a bowl to combine, add squid and mix to coat thoroughly, then drain well. Set aside 2 tbsp flour mix and toss squid lightly in remaining flour, shaking off excess, then deep-fry, in batches, for 2 minutes or until golden.
  4. To serve, 
    dust squid with reserved flour mix and arrange on a plate. Serve, scattered with fried shallot and garlic with tomato dressing and lime cheeks, sprouts, mint, basil to the side.