Salt and Pepper Chilli Squid with Garlic Aioli: Recipe

There’s no doubt in our mind that this is among the great seafood recipes. Even the most skeptical seafood eater (not one of our friends obviously) can be convinced by its greatness. Before moving to London our experience with the dish was very much led by the bright lights of Cornwall/Isle of Wight chinese takeaways. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with that (we still very much enjoy when we are back at home) moving to London opened our eyes to a world of possibility.

You could go thick on the batter, as we have done with a previous Gills squid recipe here, but you can also go a bit lighter if that’s what you fancy.

It’s the perfect dinner party dish, and you are guaranteed to have an empty plate at the end of it because no one can resist. This portion would serve four as a starter served with some salad, or served alongside some other snacks. However, we aren’t ashamed to say we ate the whole lot between the two of us when we were testing the recipe.

Timings: 15 minutes




  • 1 egg yolk
  • 500ml rapeseed oil
  • Teaspoon of mustard (we used dijon)
  • 2 roasted garlic cloves, mashed (we always have this in our fridge ready to go!)
  • Lemon to taste


  • Start by making the aoli by placing the egg yolk and the mustard into a glass bowl and whisk together.
  • Slowly add the oil using a measuring jug – you really need to be patient with this! It can take up to 10 minutes to get right.
  • Once thickened to the right consistency stir through the roasted garlic and the lemon and season to taste. Keep in the fridge until ready.
  • On the squid. Slice into rings and then keep the tentacles separate. The tentacles can go into the pan as individual ones, or in groups of 2 or 3 if that is easier.
  • Heat a pan of oil in a saucepan to 180C (we had ours on a medium high heat for around five minutes to reach this – you can check how hot it is by dropping in some bread)
  • Once sliced add to a bowl with the flour, half the chilli flakes and the salt. Mix through ensuring that the squid is well coated.
  • When the oil is ready add the squid in batches and fry off until golden brown, which takes around 2-3 minutes depending on the size of your pan.
  • Once the squid is cooked remove from the pan and place onto kitchen roll to soak up some of the excess oil.
  • When all of the squid is cooked place place onto your serving dish. When we have friends over we like to just put it all on a greaseproof sheet of paper and add a dollop of the aoli on the side.
  • Over the squid sprinkle the rest of the chilli flakes and then we added the fiery sea pepper which adds something a little different. To finish finely chop the spring onion and sprinkle over the squid.


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