What’s cooking today: Salt and pepper calamari rings

What’s cooking today: Salt and pepper calamari rings
Tony Jackman’s salt and pepper calamari, served in Mervyn Gers Ceramics ware. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

You can cook calamari very quickly or over a long time, to get them tender. This method is super fast.

The recipe for salt and pepper calamari rings is almost identical to that for salt and pepper prawns, published recently. They’re coated in cornflour spiked with masses of black pepper, white pepper and Szechuan peppercorns which have first been toasted in a dry pan.


1 kg calamari rings

Cooking oil

Rice, cooked

Coating mix:

1 Tbsp crushed black peppercorns

1 Tbsp crushed Szechuan peppercorns

1 Tbsp white pepper powder

1 Tbsp coarse sea salt

1 cup cornflour

For serving:

1 Tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

Dipping sauce:

1 green chilli, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp chopped coriander


Toast the black and Szechuan peppercorns in a dry pan on a low heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan often. Cool, then grind to a powder, and finally stir in the white pepper and salt.

Remove 1 Tbsp of this mix to a small bowl and keep to one side for serving later.

Stir the spice mixture into the cornflour.

Once the calamari is defrosted, pat dry several times with kitchen paper, ensuring every ring is as dry as possible.

Toss the prepared calamari in the cornflour mixture and shake off excess.

Heat oil to 160℃ in a deep pot. This temperature is achieved when a piece of calamari dipped in immediately shoots off fine bubbles in all directions. Maintain the temperature at that level.

Deep fry the calamari in batches for 2 minutes and drain on kitchen paper in a bowl or colander.

For the dipping sauce, in a small bowl, combine soy sauce with fish sauce, chopped garlic, lime juice and chilli, and stir in a little chopped coriander.

Serve with rice, the dipping sauce and lime wedges and garnish with fresh chopped coriander. Finally, sprinkle over the remaining salt and pepper mixture that you reserved. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


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