Salt and Pepper Cuttlefish

This salt and pepper cuttlefish is one of my favorite Chinese takeout dishes. It is a spin on calamari which is stir fried in garlic, peppers, and green onions. This makes it extra fragrant and doesn’t require any extra dipping sauce. I used cuttlefish, but squid is more accessible for most people and it works just as well.

Cuttlefish vs squid

I used cuttlefish which I bought from my Asian grocery store in this recipe but squid works just as well. The meat from cuttlefish is thicker compared to squid which is something to keep in mind while cooking. I bought my cuttlefish pre-cleaned but make sure to clean it accordingly if you end up using squid instead.

cuttlefish whole

Preparing cuttlefish

Separate tentacles

To prepare the cuttlefish, you want to first separate the tentacles which is very easy. You can do so by pulling them out or cutting with a knife.

tentacles separated

Cut off fins

Afterwards, cut off the fins to make sure it is as flat and even as possible.

Score the meat

With scoring the meat, you want to make cuts about halfway through and 1/2 cm apart. Once you have done this going in one direction, repeat in the perpendicular direction which will create a checkerboard-like design. Then cut them into 3 inch squares.

scored and cut

Aromatics in salt and pepper cuttlefish

  • Garlic – adds an extreme amount of flavor and fragrance, needs no further explanation. I like to chop it extremely fine.
  • Birds eye chilies – birds eye chilies are extremely spicy so I only used 2. If you want to remove some of the spice, take out the seeds from the chilies.
  • Green onion – white part of the green onions add flavor while the greens add color. I used 2 stalks.

Salt and Pepper Cuttlefish

This salt and pepper cuttlefish is extremely flavorful, spicy, and perfect for your next seafood feast.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine asian, Chinese



  • 300g cuttlefish
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup corn starch

Coating flour

  • cup corn starch
  • cup AP flour

Stir fry

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 small birds eye chilies
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Prepare cuttlefish by first separating the tentacles.
    300g cuttlefish
  • Then cut off the fins so that the flesh is as flat as possible.
  • Score the flesh halfway through going in one direction. Each cut should be 5mm apart. Then score in the perpendicular direction to create a checkerboard like design. Then cut into 2-3 inch squares.
  • Add the cuttlefish into a bowl along with the remaining marinade ingredients. Mix well and set aside white you make the coating flour.
    ½ tbsp salt, ½ tsp five spice powder, 1 tsp sesame oil, ½ tsp white pepper, 1 large egg, ¼ cup corn starch
  • In a separate bowl mix together corn starch and flour.
    ⅔ cup corn starch, ⅓ cup AP flour
  • Add the marinated cuttlefish into the bowl and coat each piece well until there are no longer any more wet spots.
  • Fry at 385F for 2-3 minutes then remove.
  • Prepare your garlic, chilies, and green onion by giving them a fine chop.
    4 cloves garlic, 2 small birds eye chilies, 2 stalks green onion
  • Add them into your pan along with 1 tbsp of oil. Stir for 30 seconds.
  • Add the fried calamari into the pan as well. Add more white pepper and salt to taste. Stir well then serve.
    ½ tsp white pepper, 1 tsp salt
Keyword calamari, crispy, cuttlefish, seafood, spicy, squid

If you enjoyed this, check out some more recipes here!