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1 heaping teaspoon dried ground cayenne pepper
1 heaping teaspoon fresh ground ginger
1 heaping teaspoon ground shallots (or onion)
1 teaspoon ground fresh garlic
1-2 teaspoons of salt (to taste)
1 heaping teaspoon fish seasoning (I used a fish masala)
To fry the squid/octopus:
vegetable oil like canola for deep frying
a little flour (optional)
*1.Cut the squid into small strips the long way, about 1/2 inch wide, and cut the strips in half or thirds. When we used the large octopus, we cut them into strips about 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/4 inches. However, with the baby octopus, I simply cut them into small pieces as shown.
*2.Add 2 cups of water to a small bowl, and squeeze the lemon into the water. Wash the squid/octopus pieces in the liquid, swishing them around well, shake the excess water off, and place them in a colander lined with paper towels to drain.
*3.Prepare the seasoning paste. To simplify matters, I simply put the peeled shallots, coaresly chopped fresh ginger, and several cloves of garlic in a small blender container, but had to add a tablespoon or two of water to get it to grind thoroughly. Then before I made the paste, I poured the blended ingredients into a fine strainer to get the water out, and used that water to flavor a gravy for stew. I was afraid the paste would be too thin if the water was not removed, and would splatter when frying.
*4.Mix the blended ingredients with the dried red pepper, salt and fish seasoning to make a paste.
*5.When we were in Ghana, I believe we simply coated the squid/octopus pieces with the paste and fried them in a heated deep pot of oil, but I found several problems when I tried that: the paste did not properly stick to the pieces, and also they splattered excessively when I put them in the oil, so I added another step: dry the pieces well with paper towels, and lightly dust them with flour before coating them with the paste. Carefully put them in the hot oil using a long-handled spoon or tongs and be careful of splatters (It`s a good idea to wear a full apron if you have one, and follow standard deep frying procedure--e.g., don`t overfill the pot, make sure the oil is hot enough---about 360 degrees F). As soon as the first batch is in, cover the pot or fryer for a couple of minutes, then remove the lid and stir the pieces to make sure they brown on both sides.
*6.When they are nice and crispy, remove to another paper lined colander or tray to drain. When we cooked this in Ghana, the octopus was much thicker and took longer to cook than the squid. When I used the baby squid and octopus, it cooked in just a few minutes. Repeat until all are cooked.