Deep-Fried Squid With Salt and Pepper Mix

Deep-Fried Squid With Salt and Pepper Mix

The Spruce / Danielle Moore

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
451 Calories
28g Fat
21g Carbs
27g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 451
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 383mg 128%
Sodium 2195mg 95%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 7mg 36%
Calcium 63mg 5%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 420mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you like are a fan of deep-fried calamari, try this Asian version of a seafood appetizer. Squid is dipped in tempura batter and deep fried, then being dipped in a spicy salt and pepper mix—not just any mix, here it is made with Szechuan peppercorns. The unique characteristic of Sichuan pepper is that it gives you a numbing sensation around the mouth. 

The term Sichuan pepper is misleading because it is botanically not pepper. It is a spice from the prickly ash, a shrub in the rue or citrus family, of which not the black seeds but the pinkish-red husks are used. You can find Sichuan peppercorns at Asian markets and specialty spice stores. 

The roasted Sichuan pepper salt is a common seasoning in Sichuan cuisine. You can easily make it your own by browning the salt in an ungreased pan with the Sichuan pepper.

Unless you have access to a fishmonger who sells fresh squid, using frozen squid is the most convenient because the squid is already cleaned. For this recipe, the tubes and tentacles should be intact, as they are deep fried whole. Let the squid thaw in the fridge.

This tempura is best when served hot and straight from the pan. If you have leftovers, they can be stored in the fridge for one to two days. Reheat them slowly in a 325 F oven for 5 to 8 minutes.


  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground Szechuan peppercorns, or to taste

  • 1 large egg

  • 3/4 cup ice water

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • Oil, for deep-frying

  • 2 pounds squid, whole tubes and tentacles, cleaned

  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Deep-Fried Squid With Salt and Pepper Mix ingredients

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  2. In a heavy skillet on medium to medium-low heat, brown the 2 tablespoons of salt and 3 to 4 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns, shaking the pan occasionally, until the peppercorns are fragrant and the salt turns a light brown color.

    salt and pepper in a pan

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  3. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.

    salt and pepper in a bowl

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  4. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cooled mixture or grind in a blender. Set aside.

    Use a mortar and pestle to grind the salt and pepper

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  5. In a small bowl, stir the egg into the 3/4 cup of ice water.

    egg and water mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  6. Stir in 1 cup of flour to form a thick, lumpy batter, being careful not to overmix (the batter should resemble a pancake batter).

    flower and egg mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  7. Heat the oil to 360 F in a heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat.

    oil in a pan with a thermometer

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  8. Dip the squid tubes and tentacles into the tempura batter, using your fingers to coat the squid pieces.

    squid in the bowl with batter

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  9. Add the squid and deep-fry until golden brown and crispy. Drain.

    battered squid frying in a pot with oil

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  10. Serve garnished with the coriander leaves, and with the salt and pepper mix for dipping.

    Deep-Fried Squid With Salt and Pepper Mix on a plate

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

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