Salt & Pepper Squid

What makes this dish so special is the addition of makrut lime leaves that makes it incredibly fragrant and gives it more of a Southeast Asian twist on the classic Chinese-style salt and pepper squid recipe. If you’ve never tried Kaffir lime, it’s a very strong and zesty citrus flavour that comes from the leaves of the plant vs the fruit, it gives the most incredible lime flavour throughout the dish without needing that squeeze of lime at the end. My parents have a big makrut lime tree in their backyard, it grows in abundance so we’ve always added it to so many of our dishes for flavour. I actually pick bunches at a time when I’m at my parents house and then keep the leaves in the freezer to use whenever I need. Works like a charm. 

The trick to making this recipe a winner is to use fresh squid and score it finely so that the batter has something to stick to and so the squid curls up into that beautiful shape upon frying. I also recommends using a wok, if you have one, for the best flavour and results!


  • 300g of Squid, cleaned cut into pieces and scored.
  • 6 Makrut lime leaves, centre stalks removed and finely chopped into a fine almost powder.
  • Pinch of salt and white pepper
  • ½ cup of tapioca starch (can substitute with cornflour)
  • ½ cup of rice flour 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil - for frying
  • 1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 3-4 Spring onion stalks, finely chopped


  1. Clean your squid, score the outside of the tube and then cut into bite sized pieces.
  2. Remove the centre stalk of your makrut lime leaf and finely chopped until you get a fine almost powder-like consistency.
  3. Place ⅞ of the makrut lime powder into the bowl with with squid.
  4. Whisk your egg and add it into the bowl with some salt and white pepper.
  5. Fold through the flours and mix to combine until you get a smooth batter.
  6. Heat your oil in a wok and once a chopstick inserted in the oil starts to bubble, fry your squid in batches, 6 or so pieces at a time and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  7. Once complete, remove the oil from the wok, leaving a generous tablespoon and heat.
  8. Add in the garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds until fragrant and then add the chillies, spring onion and remaining makrut lime powder and stir fry for another minute.
  9. Add the squid back in and stir fry for another 30 seconds to a minute until the squid is coated in the dressing.
  10. Transfer to a plate and squeeze some optional lime juice before serving and eating immediately.

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