Chilli Salt Squid

  • 600g small whole squid, with tentacles
  • 1/3 cup plain cake flour
  • 1/2 tbsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp maldon salt
  • 1 bottle sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • 2 large red chillies, cut in half lengthways and deseeded
  • 2 tbsp spring onion, sliced julienne
  • 1/4 cup coriander sprigs
  • 2 limes, halved (or lemons, if limes are not available)

Clean the squid by gently pulling its head and tentacles away from the body. Pull out the clear backbone (quill) from inside the body and discard entrails. Cut the tentacles from the head just below the eyes and discard head. Rinse the body, tentacles and wings thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut the squid down the centre so it will open out flat. 

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, chilli flakes, cayenne pepper and salt. Add the squid, including tentacles, and toss to coat, shaking off any excess flour. Heat the oil in a deep pot until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add half the squid and deep-fry for about 1 minute, or until just tender and beginning to colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper. Repeat process with remaining squid. Add chillies to the same hot oil and fry for about 30 seconds, or until they are a deep, bright-red colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well.

To serve, arrange the squid on a platter and garnish with the chillies, coriander, spring onion, and lemon or lime wedges.

Enjoy this recipe with one of South Africa’s best wines, go to

Photography by C&D Heierli • Recipes by Diane Heierli