Twice-fried, doubly delicious: These calamari are an upgrade from the overbattered sort found in most restaurants. A fast turn in the wok is all you need here – squid can go rubbery when overcooked, so watch your time.
Serves | 4 to 6 as an appetizer |
- 1 lb squid tubes and tentacles, cleaned, tubes sliced into thin rings
- 2 Tbsp shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
- ¾ tsp whole fennel seeds
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
- 2⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups plus 2 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil, divided
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts in thin rings, greens trimmed and sliced lengthwise into very thin ribbons, divided
- 1 Fresno chile, seeds removed, sliced into paper-thin rounds
- ¼ cup light soy sauce (to serve)
- ¼ cup garlic-chile sauce (to serve)
- 2 to 3 Tbsp chile oil (to serve)
| Preparation | In a medium bowl, toss squid tubes and tentacles with rice wine; set aside for 30 minutes. In a small skillet, toast peppercorns and fennel seeds, flipping frequently, until fragrant; in a mortar and pestle, grind spices into a powder. In a large bowl, add ground spices, salt and pepper to flour and stir to incorporate.
Drain squid as much as possible, then toss with starch mixture. Prepare a paper towel-lined plate. Heat 4 cups oil in wok to 350°F; use a thermometer to carefully monitor temperature throughout work time. Working in batches, add squid pieces to oil and fry until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes; set aside on prepared plate to drain. When finished, carefully drain oil from wok into heatproof vessel and set aside to cool. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to wok and swirl to coat bottom and sides. Add scallion rings and chile, stirring constantly until fragrant. Add calamari and toss until golden and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add half of scallion greens and toss for 10 seconds, then remove to a platter, scattering scallions and chile rounds from wok over top.
| To Serve | Place light soy sauce, garlic-chile sauce and chile oil into individual dipping bowls and serve alongside calamari. Garnish with reserved ½ of scallions and serve.