Chef's Recipes

Jimmy Wah's grilled squid with watercress, green chilli mayo and fried garlic

Fried garlic, grilled squid and a spicy chilli mayo - Brisbane Vietnamese restaurant Jimmy Wah know how to bring the heat. Stay cool with a G&T on the side.

By Jimmy Wah
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Jimmy Wah's grilled squid with watercress, green chilli mayo and fried garlic
"Would you please publish Jimmy Wah's squid recipe?"
Wesley Johnson, Broadbeach, Qld
To request a recipe, email send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.


  • 8 small squid (about 800gm; see note), cleaned and tentacles reserved
  • 3 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch (see note)
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) watercress
  • 1 long green chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • Lime cheeks, to serve (optional)
Green chilli mayo
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ long green chilli, very finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp mustard powder
  • Pinch of dashi powder (see note)
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • 125 ml grapeseed oil (½ cup)
Nuoc cham
  • 50 gm caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2½ tsp rice vinegar
  • ¼ tsp finely chopped birdseye chilli
  • ¼ tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1½ tsp lime juice
Fried garlic
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 125 ml milk (½ cup)
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch


  • 1
    For green chilli mayo, blend egg, vinegar, chilli, mustard powder, dashi powder, garlic powder and 1 tsp salt in a small food processor on medium speed until combined (1 minute). With motor running, slowly add oil, starting with a few drops at a time, then in a thin, steady stream until all incorporated and a thin mayonnaise forms. Mayonnaise will keep refrigerated for 1-2 days. This recipe makes about 1 cup.
  • 2
    For nuoc cham, bring sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, chilli, garlic and 50ml water to the boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Set aside to cool (20-30 minutes), then stir in lime juice and set aside until required.
  • 3
    For fried garlic, heat oil to 140C in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Combine milk and garlic in a second small saucepan, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 5 minutes to blanch. Drain garlic, spread on paper towels in a single layer and pat dry. Toss garlic in tapioca starch, gently shake in a sieve to remove any excess, then deep-fry garlic until golden (2-3 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on paper towels, and season to taste with salt and white pepper.
  • 4
    Increase oil to 180C and heat a char-grill pan over high heat. Season squid with salt and freshly ground white pepper, drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Grill squid, turning once, until just cooked (1 minute each side). Remove from grill, thickly slice and set aside. Dust tentacles in tapioca starch and deep-fry until lightly browned and crisp (1-2 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on paper towels and season to taste.
  • 5
    Spoon about 1 tbsp mayo onto each plate. Toss grilled squid with half the nuoc cham in a mixing bowl, then transfer to plates along with fried tentacles. Dress watercress with remaining nuoc cham, divide among plates, scatter with fried garlic and chilli, and serve with lime cheeks.


If squid are small, ensure hoods are thoroughly cleaned and dried on the inside; if they're larger, cut hoods in half lengthways to open out. Tapioca starch and dashi powder are available from Asian food stores.