Crispy Squid with Chicken Salt and Chillies

Chicken salt is a very popular type of seasoned salt in Australia that is often sprinkled over fries, but can be added to anything that needs an extra savory element.  

Here I have made my own chicken salt (see recipe below) to finish this fried squid dish. I feel that rice flour makes the flour coating very light and doesn't draw attention away from the squid itself. 

Yield: 4 servings as a first course


2 lbs whole squid

1/3 cup AP flour

1/3 cup rice flour

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chicken salt (see separate recipe below)

1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)

canola oil for frying

2 fresh long red chillies, thinly sliced 

3 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced

2 limes cut into wedges 


Clean the squid: pull the tentacles from the body so all the innards are loosened from the body. Place a knife just behind the eyes of the squid and cut the tentacles free. Use your fingers to  remove the hard, inedible cartilage from the tentacles (the 'beak') as well as body (the 'cuttlebone'). Pull away the dark skin from body and discard along with the cartilage, head and innards. Rinse the inside of the squid under cold running water and push out any leftover innards.

Pat the squid dry with paper towels and cut the body into 1/4" rings. Lay out on a small sheet tray with the tentacles and refrigerate, uncovered, for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk together the flours, chicken salt and chili flakes in a large bowl. Pour an inch of canola oil into a wok over high heat and wait until the temperature reaches 350F (when the oil's surface is shimmering).

Coat the squid well in the flour mixture, then shake off any excess and slide into the hot oil. Fry in batches for about 1 minute until lightly golden, then lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet tray. Sprinkle immediately with chicken salt and serve with fresh limes. 

Chicken Salt (recipe adapted from Lucky Peach)

Yield: 170g


2.5 oz chicken skin (from about 4 chicken thighs or 2 large breasts)

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup kosher salt

3 tablespoons shiitake mushroom powder

1 tablespoon white pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 teaspoons celery seed powder


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Pat the chicken skins dry with paper towels and roast until golden and crisp, about 25 minutes. Strain off the rendered chicken fat and lower the oven to 150F. 

Combine the skins and chicken stock and simmer until the stock is reduced, about 1 hour. 

Use a food processor to pulse the mushroom powder into a fine powder. Set aside. 

Break up the chicken skin into smaller shards with your hands and combine with the salt. Use the food processor to grind until fine. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse a couple times until well mixed. 

Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 2 months. 

 Roasted chicken skins 

Roasted chicken skins 

Whole Roasted Rainbow Trout with Cherry Tomatoes and Potatoes

This is a simple, versatile dish that also works with other whole fish such as striped bass, red snapper or branzino. I happened to find smoked garlic at the produce market so decided to use it here. The extra layer of flavour is nice but don't worry if you can't find it; regular garlic is just as nice. 

Yield: 6 servings as a main course


2 whole rainbow trout (each about 1 1/2 lbs), cleaned, scaled and gutted

1 lb new potatoes, cleaned and left unpeeled

3/4 lb cherry tomatoes

3 small yellow onions, peeled and cut into 1/2" slices

6 smoked (or regular) garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed

6 fresh thyme sprigs 

1 bay leaf 

extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 


Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the potatoes, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon salt in a pot. Cover with cold water and parboil until almost tender. Drain and let cool enough so that you can handle them and cut into fourths. Toss the cooked potatoes, onions, garlic, and thyme sprigs in olive oil and season well with salt and black pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a sheet tray and roast for 20 minutes. 

While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the fish by scoring 4-5 times on both sides, rubbing with extra virgin olive oil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, inside the cavity and on the skin.

Place the fish on top of the potatoes and arrange the cherry tomatoes around it. Roast for 20 minutes until the flesh is cooked through, the potatoes are crisp, the onions are caramelised and the tomatoes are blistered.

 Bulbs of Smoked Garlic 

Bulbs of Smoked Garlic