In the Galley

Hong Kong Salt and Pepper Squid or Tofu

This Cantonese dish is an absolute classic and far easier to make than you think onboard. I have fond memories of hiking with friends in Hong Kong and finishing at our favourite seaside food market to enjoy their fresh squid. Alternatively, the recipe works very well with tofu if squid is not available or if you prefer a vegetarian option.

This month we will prepare both with a little help from our Ocean Sailor friends at 852 Hong Kong Cafe in Istanbul.


  • 500g of cleaned squid
  • 300g of tofu, cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup of cornflour
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of five spice powder*
  • ½ tsp of white pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine, Mirin or white wine can also work – this is only if cooking with squid

* Chinese Five Spices Powder – is a powder mixture of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel. You can find it in most Chinese/Oriental grocery stores or online.

Hong Kong Salt & Pepper



Finely chop the chilli, garlic and spring onion.


Cut the tofu into small cubes and coat in cornflour.


Fry the tofu in vegetable oil until golden brown.


With a little bit of vegetable oil in a pan or wok, start frying the chilli and garlic.


Add the tofu and evenly toss for 1-2 minutes.


Turn off the heat, add the salt, five spice, chopped spring onions and mix well before serving.

Hong Kong Salt & Pepper



Clean the squid or ask for your fishmonger to clean and prepare it for you. You should have the hood and tentacles ready.


Score the squid with a crosshatch pattern being careful not to cut all the way through. This will make the squid pieces curl up when being fried and help with the tenderness.


Cut into bite-size pieces and place in a bowl. Toss the squid with a little white pepper and Shaoxing wine and leave for a few mins.


When ready to cook, lightly dry the squid with some kitchen roll and place in cornflour. From here, you just need to follow the steps for the tofu above. Bear in mind that the squid will require less time to cook, about 2 to 2 ½ minutes.


Such a simple but delicious dish that packs great flavours from Hong Kong. There are some variations on this dish, for example, you can add ginger or onions, but as always, we want to give simple recipes to cook while out cruising.

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