This is my spin on the classic Chinese salt and pepper squid. I've used native Australian ingredients dried saltbush flakes for their herbaceous saltiness, mountain pepper for its punch and dried lemon myrtle for its zing.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 4 squid or calamari hoods
  • 1 tsp dried lemon myrtle (see Note)
  • 1 cup tempura flour (see Note)
  • 20 ml macadamia oil (see Note)
  • 50 g butter
  • 1½ tsp dried saltbush flakes (see Note)
  • 1½ tsp ground mountain pepper (see Note) 
  • 1 tsp tanami fire seasoning (see Note) 



  • 100 g mixed lettuce leaves, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded, chopped
  • 1 telegraph cucumber, deseeded, chopped
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Prepare the squid or calamari hoods by washing and removing the "backbone" and skin (if desired). Cut the hoods into triangles or squares (this will encourage the flesh to curl while cooking).

In a bowl, mix the lemon myrtle and flour. Roll the squid pieces through the flour mixture.

Meanwhile, make the salad, place the lettuce, tomato and cucumber in bowl and toss to combine.

Heat the macadamia oil and butter in a wok. Add the saltbush, mountain pepper and tanami fire seasoning and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the squid, in batches, shaking off the excess flour, and cook until they curl. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the oil and drain on paper towel. Repeat with the remaining squid.

To serve, divide the salad among plates. Top with the squid and serve with a lemon wedge. 


Chef's notes

• Dried lemon myrtle, dried saltbush, mountain pepper (also called native pepper or pepperleaf) and tanami fire seasoning are native Australian herbs, spices and fruits. For more information, visit the Black Olive website. You can purchase these products online.

• Macadamia oil is available from the oil or health food aisle in most supermarkets or in health food stores.

• Tempura flour is available from the international aisle of most supermarkets or from Asian grocers.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.