Garlic Lemon Squid

I love squid. I don’t know what it is about it, but I loved squid (or as we call it, sotong) ever since I could remember. My grandma made a particularly good simple chilli sotong which I would lap up with delight, and it was the chilli that made it so good. I have only come close to replicating it, because she used a chilli which was made by a neighbor who would gift it to her.

But today’s simple squid recipe is one which can be replicated easily, with ingredients that are easy to secure almost anywhere in the world. That is, unless you live in a place where fresh squid is hard to get. You will need to clean and gut your squid, and this is something which I find strangely therapeutic. I love picking the ones which have roe, and it is during this cleaning process where I find out if I have made the right selection. More seasoned fish handlers would be able to tell just by touching the squid, but that is a skill I have yet to hone.

You can choose to cut your squid in rings or you can score lines onto flat pieces so they look more elegant when cooked. The latter was how grandma used to do it, so I have followed the same. I find scoring the patterns helps the sauce to stick more onto the squid and make it all the better to eat, but it’s really up to you. But the important thing to note about cooking squid, is that you can only fry them for a short time or stew them for a long time to get it in the right texture. Anything in between will render a very chewy product which won’t be so pleasant.

This squid dish can be eaten alone or made into a pasta dish with linguine.



  • 2 large squids – cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic – sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 handful of parsley – roughly chopped
  • Juice of half a small lemon – about 2- 3 tablespoons
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Once it’s sufficiently hot (not smoking), add in the garlic and let it fry for a few minutes, until the edges start to brown a little.


Add in the squid, and gently flip them around with a spatula. Add in salt and pepper to taste. How much salt will depend on your palette and what you are using this for. If it’s a standalone dish, you might go with 1 slightly heaped teaspoon of sea salt flakes like I did, but if you are intending to add in pasta, you should go for more salt so that it will flavor your pasta better. (If you are using fine salt, reduce accordingly as 1 heaped teaspoon of fine salt might be a lot saltier compared to flakes.)


When the squid is half cooked, add in the lemon juice then continue to toss the squid around gently. Squid cooks really quickly so the minute they turn opaque they are more or less cooked. But you should make sure you flip the pieces around to ensure that every surface has touched the pan to ensure it’s cooked properly. (If you are making this into a pasta dish, toss in the cooked and drained pasta at this stage.)


When you think it’s almost done, toss in the parsley and give a final toss, then turn off the flame. I personally prefer parsley to be a little more cooked because the raw taste gets to me, but if you like the raw taste of parsley, you can choose to throw them on after you turn off the flame.


Here is a closeup on the sauce so you can see that it’s supposed to be murky like this.


Sprinkle some more black pepper on it to garnish. Serve hot.



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