Chilli salt squid with baby bok choy

Tom Parker Bowles cooks a classic oriental dish, with a piquant chilli dipping sauce on the side
By Tom Parker Bowles
Chilli salt squid with baby bok choy
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2-3
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the chilli dipping sauce

  • 2 bird's-eye chillies, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 150 ml rice vinegar
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce, or to taste
  • ¼ red onions, fiinely diced
  • ¼ cucumber, finely chopped

For the squid

  • 500 g squid, cleaned
  • cornflour, for dusting
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 spring onions, shredded
  • 1 bird's-eye chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped

For the baby bok choi

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste
  • 3 cm piece ginger, julienned
  • 4 heads baby bok choy, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 pinches sugar
  • 2 tbsp chicken stock or water


1. For the chilli dipping sauce: put the chillies and garlic in a spice grinder and pulse to a purée (or pound by hand with a mortar and pestle). Scrape the paste into a non-reactive saucepan and add the vinegar and sugar. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer until it has reduced to a thin syrup. Add the fish sauce to taste, then set aside until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir in the red onion and cucumber.

3. For the squid: separate the tentacles from the squid bodies and set aside separately.

4. Split the squid bodies along their length and open out flat on a chopping board. Score the outside surface in a cross-hatch pattern, then cut the bodies into squares. Cut the tentacles into similar sized pieces.

5. Dredge the squid pieces with the cornflour.

6. Half-fill a deep, heavy-based pan with sunflower oil and heat to 180C (check using a digital thermometer). Carefully fry the squid in small batches for 2-3 minutes, or until the squid is golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then transfer to a serving bowl.

7. For the bok choy: heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the garlic and half the ginger and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Add the bok choy, then stir in the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and chicken stock or water. Stir-fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the bok choy is tender.

8. Pile the bok choy onto a serving plate and scatter over the remaining ginger. Scatter the spring onions and birds-eye chilli over the squid and serve alongside the bok choy and chilli dipping sauce.

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