• Warm custard apple salad with salt and pepper squid (Ben Dearnley)Source: Ben Dearnley

Custard apple's white, juicy flesh has a sweet flavour, like a combination of banana, pineapples and strawberries. Its sweetness can be used to lift savoury dishes, like this salad.


Skill level

Average: 3.2 (3 votes)


  • 750 g (about 3) squid tubes, cleaned 
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 
  • 35 g (¼ cup) roasted peanuts 
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil, plus extra, to deep-fry 
  • 300 g (about 1 large) slightly under-ripe custard apple (see Note) flesh, broken into pieces 
  • 150 g (about ½ bunch) snake beans, trimmed, cut into 5 cm lengths 
  • 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced 
  • ¼ cup firmly packed chopped coriander leaves 
  • 2 tbsp rice flour 
  • 2 tbsp cornflour 
  • fried Asian red eschalots (see Note), sliced spring onion and long red chilli, and lime wedges, to serve 


  • 1 tbsp grated palm sugar 
  • 1 lime, juiced 
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

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.


Lay squid tubes on a chopping board and run a knife from top to bottom to open them up. Score squid with a crisscross pattern, cut in half lengthwise, then slice into 1 cm-wide strips. Place in a bowl.

To make dressing, whisk all the ingredients with 2 tsp water until combined. Set aside.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind garlic and peanuts until coarsely ground, and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or heavy-based frying pan over high heat. Cook custard apple in batches, turning, for 2 minutes or until light golden. Transfer to a plate. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to wok and cook beans and capsicum, stirring, for 4 minutes or until just tender. Stir in ground garlic and nut mixture, then return the custard apple to the wok. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute to combine. Transfer to a bowl with coriander and toss with dressing.

Combine flours, 2 tsp sea salt and 2 tsp pepper in a bowl. Wipe wok clean, then fill one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Toss squid in flour mixture and shake off excess. Working in 3 batches, drop into the oil and fry, turning, for 3 minutes or until light golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Top salad with eschalots, spring onion and chilli, and serve with squid and lime wedges.


Substitute 300 g frozen soursop, from Asian food shops, drained on paper towel.

Fried Asian red eschalots are available from selected supermarkets and Asian food shops.

As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 9, pg151.

Photography by Brett Stevens.