This salt and pepper squid is one of my favourite Chinese Taiwanese snacks and appetizers. On a hot summer’s day I especially enjoy paring this with a nice iced cold beer.
Preparing this dish is very simple. You only need a few ingredients then you can make this dish but please be very careful when you fry the squid as the oil can explode (water on oil effect) and potentially burn you. I personally pad the squid dry after cleaning and washing it because I coat it with corn flour and normal flour.
I personally like to cross-cut the squid because it makes the squid look prettier but if you think cross-cutting is too much hassle then you can either cut it into rings or pieces. Either method is fine.
How to cross-cut squid:
- Place the squid tube flat on a cutting board, with the inside facing up.
- Score the squid tube with a criss-cross pattern. Cut into rectangular pieces.
How to clean and prepare squid video
Squid health benefits:
- Squid contains high levels of copper that can fulfill 90% of the body’s requirements.
- Eating squid can relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
- Squid is high in proteins
- Squid is high in Vitamin B2, which also can prevent migraines.
- Eating squid can help to stabilize sugar levels in your blood because it contains high levels of vitamin B3.
- Squid is a good source of Zinc which can help strengthen the immune system.
- Squid is a very good source of vitamin B12, which can lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Even though squid has many health benefits please remember to eat a healthy and balanced diet. If you have any medical issues please consult a medical professional.
If you like this recipe please have a look of my cookbook “Home-Style Taiwanese Cooking“.
370g (13 1/8 ounces) squid tubes, It’s easier to cross-cut medium to large sized squid tubes than smaller ones. I only use squid tubes in this recipe but you can also use a whole squid in this recipe.
85g (3 ounces) corn flour
1 tablespoon plain flour
750ml (1 1/5 pints) oil for fry the squid
1 spring onion, slice
1 chili slice
Some basil for garnish
Ingredients for squid marinade:
½ teaspoon salt
½ lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon rice wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- Clean and wash the squid under running cold water. Pad dry with a kitchen towel.
- Cross-cut the squid and cut into 3-4 cm (on each side) squares
- Marinade the squid with all the ingredient for marinade for 30 minutes.
- Mix corn flour, plain flour and all the seasonings.
- Heat up oil in a wok or a deep saucepan to around 180C.
- Coat the squid with step 4 corn flour mixture.
- Gently slide the squid into the hot oil. Please keep your distance and be very careful just incase the hot oil splashes or spits on you.
- Deep fry the squid for 30 seconds. You will see the squid curl up and turn a beautiful golden colour.
- Put a couple sheets of kitchen towel on a plate and take the squid out of the hot oil and place onto the kitchen towel to get rid of the oil.
- Mix the squid with spring onions and chilli. Place on a serving plate and garnish with some basil leaves. Ready to serve.
For this recipe I also made some simple wasabi mayo for dipping sauce:
½ teaspoon wasabi
2 tablespoon mayonnaise
½ tablespoon lemon juice
Procedures for Wasabi Mayo:
- Mix wasabi with lemon juice first until there are no lumps of wasabi left.
- Mix step 1 with mayonnaise until it’s perfectly combined together.
Salad is always one of the best foods to eat during the summer time. In fact salad is great to eat anytime of the year but one of my favourite summer dishes is this squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce (五味醬). My husband is only now really warming to salad in his mid thirties but I made this the other day and everyone, my daughter included, loved it.
Taiwanese five-flavour sauce is a popular dipping sauce for seafood in Taiwan. Taiwanese people serve this sauce with raw oysters, cooked prawns, cooked squid, octopus and mussels. You will see this sauce in every seafood restaurant in Taiwan.
This five-flavour sauce as the name suggests embraces five different flavours; sour, sweet, bitter, spicy and pungent. I added some olive oil to this recipe because I hope people can use this sauce as a salad dressing rather than just a dipping sauce. You can adjust the amount of seasonings as per your personal preference. I found the kitchen I got from the supermarkets here in the UK is quite sour so sometimes I will add a little extra sugar to make this sauce sweeter. You can replace the vinegar with rice vinegar, sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar as you wish.
If you are not sure about cross-cutting the squid or you think it’s simply too much hassle or will take too long, then cut the squid into rings or simply dice it. Any method is complete fine. Cooking should be both enjoyable and free and you should never be bounded by a recipe. When I worked as a fine dining chef we were bound by recipes, and that was fine for that cooking scenario, but in my personal cooking I like to improvise a lot. That way rather than eating someone else’s preference you’re discovering your own.
Also if you don’t like boiled or blanched squid, then you can try to chargrill the squid.
I hope you like this simple, quick and delicious salad dish from my home country Taiwan.
A little bit of an update about my life:
I’m now working on a few exciting illustration projects right now which is making me really happy but also super busy. As you’ll know I was a full time fine dining chef a few years but I’ve spent the past five years studying illustration to try to turn my life and career around. Now instead of working all kinds of awful hours with poor pay and even worse conditions I’m now able to
dictate how much and when I’m work, so I’m super happy about that.
I’m also trying to find a new home right now. Over five years ago Chris and I working not brilliant jobs and even though Chris’ earnings went up my earnings hadn’t because I sacrificed work to become a student. So right now we’re still renting and we’re looking for not only a bigger flat with more space and a bigger kitchen we’re also looking into catchment areas f
or our daughter’s school.
In case you’re not familiar with a catchment area, in the UK your child can only go to the school designated for the postcode you live in. The small block of flats we live in is fine but the nearest primary school is in Muirhouse which is a really god awful area. Have you ever watched Trainspotting? Well Irvine Welse, the author, is from Muirhouse and the ideas and story
behind Trainspotting came from Muirhouse. Statistically out of 86 primary schools in Edinburgh, our local is the worst. So we need to move.
So right now I work as an illustrator during the day time but at night I’m a food writer and food blogger. So you can imagine I need a really decent size kitchen t work in. My current kitchen is the size of a birdcage so making complex dishes, the ones where you need to cook multiple things at once while having all the space you need for prep, plating etc is really difficult. As it stands we’ve applied for a new housing development being built in a good area of Edinburgh but Edinburgh is so damn expensive nowadays (easily £1000 a month for a 2 bedroom flat) we’re also considering moving just outside of Edinburgh so Amelia can have a garden, we can have a bigger property and we can save money.
So wish me luck finding a new property and hope you like this recipe for Squid Salad with Taiwanese Five-Flavour Sauce.
370g (13 1/8 ounces) squid tube, clean, wash and cross-cut
140g (5 ounces) broccoli, cut into small florets
6 baby corn, cut into half
6 cherry tomato, cut into half
Ingredients for five-flavour sauce:
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon black vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
- Mix all the ingredients for five-flavour sauce in a small bowl and leave it aside for at least 30 minutes.
- Boil some water in a saucepan and blanch the broccoli until it’s tender. Take it out from the water and cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water. Leave it aside.
- Keep the water from blanched broccoli and blanch the baby corn in the same way. Cool down immediately under cold water then drain the water. Leave it aside.
- Use step 3 water to blanch squid for 30 seconds then cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water and leave it aside.
- Place broccoli, baby corn, cherry tomato and squid on a serving plate and you can drizzle the sauce on top or you can just serve the sauce on the side. So people can use the sauce as dipping sauce.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves: 3 people
Purchase my books on Amazon:
Home Style Taiwanese Cooking
The Illustrative chef
Today’s recipe is Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes but before I get onto the recipe I’ve now been back in the UK from Taiwan for a month now and my life has been very busy but I’m really happy I’ve finally quit my job as a chef. Sometimes you just have to take a jump from one career to another and now I’ve quit working as a chef I’m suddenly got a lot of illustration enquiries so it’s perfect that I’m now working for myself.
I’ve also finally caught up with most of then projects I have been working on but I’m still struggling to find enough time to balance studying, commission projects and family. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to work in a kitchen and do all my other work as well.
With regards to my cookbook, I am always monitoring stock levels of my cookbook on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com so I can get an idea of how well the book is selling (it appears to be selling well). It also allows me to chase up my editor to make sure there is enough stock.
So back to today’s recipe for Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes, this is a dish really suitable for banquets and special events. I’ve always loved seafood, especially prawns, and the deep fried almond flakes are crispy and delicious. Prawns and almonds are a great combination both in terms of texture and flavour and if you put these Deep Fried Prawn Balls together properly they both look and taste great, making them perfect for banquets and special events. So maybe you can make this dish to treat your friends and family.
380g prawns, peeled
120g fatty pork
75g onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of spring onions, finely chopped
150g almond flakes
1/2 tablespoon potato starch or corn flour
1 egg white
Oil for fried the prawn balls 600ml
1/2 tablespoon potato starch or corn flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Use a food processor to process the fatty pork first. Process the pork until it looks like fine mince.
- Add the prawns to the mix and process for a further 1-2 minutes. Move everything into a big bowl once the prawns and mince are finely minced.
- Add all the seasonings, onion and spring onion. Mix the the mixture clock wise for 3-5 minutes.
- Roughly chop the almond flakes and spread onto a plate. This way the almond is smaller and easier to stick to the prawn balls.
- Wet both hands with cold water and take a little bit of mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat this procedures until all the mixture has been rolled into balls.
- Coat the prawn balls with almond flakes.
- Heat up the oil in a wok and fry the prawn balls at the lowest heat for 3-4 minutes. Moving the prawn balls around gently will help the prawn balls keep a nice round shape. After 3-4 minutes turn the stove to the highest temperature and try the balls until they turned to a nice golden colour.
Cooking time: 40 minutes
This recipe can make 13-14 balls
One day while back in Taipei, I was watching TV with my grandmother and smelt this really awesome dish coming out of a neighbour’s home. So I asked grandma to make this dish for me. I know people might think I’m horrible asking my grandmother to cook for me but grandma is a very old fashioned traditional Eastern lady. Few things make her happier than cooking a big meal for her family. She loves cooking for he children and grandchildren and when we say something along the lines of “Oh grandma, the food you made is so DELICIOUS! We love it!” you can often here her giggling. For a lot of older Eastern ladies, most of them are housewives their whole lives. They sacrifice themselves to their family and children so the “kitchen” is their stage. When my grandmother came to the UK in 2012 she brought her rubber gloves with her and when she was cutting vegetables she refused to let me help her, even though I’m a trained chef. This kind of thing always makes me laugh.
I cook most of the meals at home for my husband and daughter but a lot of times I really don’t know what to cook. I’m used to people ordering food from me at work so I guess this carries over at home so I usually present Chris with the question “Eastern or Western food” “noodles or rice?” then I have a pretty good idea about what to cook. I believe for a lot of mums who cook most of the food at home they must have the same feeling so whenever I go back to Taipei I always prepare a “list” of food for my grandma or my mum. This way everyone is extremely happy.
While I was back in Taipei recently dealing with the death of my father, I was away from home sorting things out and grandma, being the cute old lady she is, even phoned me to ask me if I want her to put tomatoes in this beef stew she was cooking. I told her to cook it anyway she likes, which she will really love hearing but in all honesty the addition of tomato was perfect. It made the beef stew less fatty/greasy. I cooked a very similar dish in my cookbook without tomato and I have to admit this recipe tastes so much better.
So this is my grandmother’s recipe for Chinese Daikon, carrot and tomato beef stew:
1 kg flank of beef (or you can use shin and any part of beef that’s suitable for slow cook), cut into big dice
480g vine tomato, chopped roughly
120g onion (or 1 medium size onion), chopped roughly
10g ginger, thin slice
200g carrot, peeled it and slice into 2cm thick
600g daikon, peeled it. Slice into 2cm thick and cut into quarters.
1 liter water
200ml light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
70ml rice wine
2 star anises
1/4 cinnamon stick
(Could add some tangerine peeled for extra flavour, optional)
- Boil a big pot of water and add the beef. Boil for 5 minutes to clean any dirt off the beef. After 5 minutes, use cold water to wash away any dirt on the surface of the meat and drain the water. Leave the beef aside for later
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil and stir-fry the ginger and onion until the fragrance comes out. Add the beef and stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes
- Pour the rice wine in and cook for 30 seconds. Add light and dark soy sauce and boil
- After step 3 has boiled, add tomato, water, star anise, cinnamon stick and tangerine peel (optional)
- Cook for 1.5 hours. The beef should be nearly soft and then add the carrots and daikon. Cook until the carrots and daikon are soft. Check the seasonings to suit your taste before serving
Last October I got a surprising email from an international publisher called “Marshall Cavendish” asking me if I’m interested in publishing my first cookbook. After the initial shock I didn’t hesitate at all and immediately agreed, once I read the terms of the contract of course, to publish this book with them. The result is Home Style Taiwanese Cooking.
Publishing a cookbook has always been one of my dreams and this invitation from a large international publisher has made this dream come true. So for the last 6 months Chris and I have been really busy with this book. I was originally contacted around September/October and we were asked to provide 60 recipes and photographs of these recipes before Christmas. However, without really diving into photographic techniques, the core lighting in our food photos is natural lighting but here in Scotland during the winter it’s dark from 3pm to 8am (sometimes seems later if the weather is really bad which this winter it really has been).
This was a huge headache so it meant lots of extra nursery sessions for Amelia and literally I would have days where I would prepare 8 dishes and present and photograph them in rapid succession. Stressful doesn’t even come into it. It was also difficult as Chris is out working everyday as a photographer so his time is also a major factor but just yesterday I received a few copies of my cookbook in the post and I’m absolutely delighted with it.
Naturally through the process of making the book there were some “interesting” moments where the publisher wanted something but we wanted to do it differently but in the end, with a little compromise on both ends, I think the book looks absolutely fantastic.
So the first photo below is how the cover of the book will look like and the photos following that are photos of the book taken in the back garden. I might redo these photos but when I received the book I was so super excited that as soon as Chris got back from his morning photo job we quickly rushed outside, took some photos, then I went to work.
This book is literally about Home Style Taiwanese Cooking. I chose dishes that I will eat when I go home, dishes that many Taiwanese mothers and grandmothers will cook at home. Many of these dishes I learnt from my grandparents on both sides of my family and there are also dishes that I know are very common in other people’s homes. There are a couple recipes that are more Taiwanese street food style but street food is a whole other thing and if the sales of this book go well I would love to be able to make another book about street food.
This book contains 65 recipes and 99.9% of the ingredients are available in local Chinese supermarkets and normal supermarkets. The only ingredient I can think of off the top of my head that I definitely couldn’t buy in Edinburgh (bearing in mind Edinburgh doesn’t have a China town) was marinaded cordia but otherwise practically everything else I sourced locally.
Here is Amazon UK link for my book
Here is Amazon US link for my book
Here is Waterstones link for my book
Book Depository link for my book
Here is Penguin Books Australia link for my book.
There are many other online bookstores in different countries that sell my book. So if you need to help to find my book in your home country please leave message or comment for me and I will be more than happy to search for you or contact my publisher and ask them for information. To be honest I’m not too sure how many countries will sell my book but so far all of the English speaking countries that I can think of do sell it.
From the first time I heard about three cup chicken I thought it was a Taiwanese dish, but after doing some research I discovered it’s actually a Chinese dish.
Wen Tiansiang was the Duke of Xinguo and famous in Chinese history for his loyalty to the Song Dynasty. He refused Khubilai Khan’s demand for the Song forces to surrender to the Khan invasion, so he suffered for 4 years in a military prison before his execution. He wrote a lot of good poems in the prison and one of his famous quotations is “None since the advent of time have escaped death, may my loyalty forever illuminate the annuals of history.”
This three cup chicken was cooked by a kind prison warden who was also from Jiangxi Province (Wen Tiansiang’s home town is Jiangxi.). He made this dish with limited ingredients; one cup of sweet rice wine, one cup soy sauce and one cup of lard to stew the chicken for Wen Tiansiang before his execution.
In Taiwan, three cup chicken has evolved into one cup of rice wine, one cup of soy sauce and one cup of dark sesame oil. The smell and the taste of this three cup chicken is just divine. In Taiwan, especially the area around Yangming mountain (Yangmingshan) has a lot of hot spring B&B and restaurants. The guests can use hot spring first and then have meal in the restaurant after. One of the more popular dishes is this three cup chicken.
4 Chicken legs including thigh, de-boned it.
10 cloves garlic, just peeled it.
6 thin slice ginger
1 Chilli, slice it.
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice wine
½ cup dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
- Heat up wok with dark sesame oil and fry the ginger until the ginger dry up.
- Add chicken legs to stir fry it until the chicken meat turn into white colour.
- Add garlic, chilli and all the seasonings and cover the wok to simmer the chicken for 15~20 minutes until the sauce is dry out.
- Add basil to stir fry it before place the chicken into plate to serve.