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BackstorySzechuan pepper is one of my favorite spices. It has a unique aroma and flavor that is not like black or white pepper, or chili peppers, but has slight citrusy overtone and creates kind of tingly numbness on the tongue. Many recipes often suggest roasting and then crushing the tiny seedpods before adding them to spice up dishes.
This Chinese Fried Squid dish is one of those dishes that I love to eat with freshly roasted and crushed Szechuan peppercorns. The texture of the fried squid with the tingly numbness of the tongue from the peppercorn dip is one experience everyone must try at least once in their lifetime!
- 2 lb cleaned squid, cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons sea-salt
- 3 tsp Szechuan peppercorn
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup ice cold water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 to 4 cups oil for deep-frying
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Preparation of Salt/Szechuan Peppercorn:
- 1. In heavy pan, brown the salt and whole Szechuan peppercorns on medium to medium-low heat. Stir fry the mixture until it’s fragrant and the salt turns a light brown color(about 5 minutes).
- 2. Remove and let it cool off.
- 3. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cooled mixture. Set aside for dipping squid later.
- Preparation of Squid:
- 4. Stir the egg into the ice water. Add the flour and continue to stir to form a thick, lumpy batter. Do not overmix (the batter should resemble a pancake batter).
- 5. Heat the oil to 350°F.
- 6. Dip the squid into the flour/egg batter using your fingers to coat the squid pieces.
- 7. Add the squid and deep-fry until golden brown and crispy.
- 8. Drain. Serve garnished with the coriander leaves, and with the salt and pepper mix for dipping.