Crispy fried calamari is an appetizer I have to order every time I see it on a menu. The crispy coating around the squid accompanied by dipping sauces make it the perfect appetizer to pick at. This is a really simple way to make it at home and I show how to prepare the squid as well.
How to clean and prepare raw squid
The raw squid I get is from an Asian grocery store in the frozen seafood section. All you need to do is soak in warm water for 30 minutes and they will be completely defrosted. Here is what the package looks like.
Remove skin for calamari
Squid naturally has a layer of skin, it is darker, spotty and very thin. The skin is actually edible, however, take it off because it looks better and makes less of a mess. How we do this is by peeling it off with your fingers. They should come off really easily and to make things easier, rinse it under water while you peel. As you can see, the squid on the left still has the skin on and the one on the right is off.
Separate the tentacles
With a simple, tug, the tentacles will separate from the tubes. Attached to the tentacles will be the eyes and ink sack. You want to cut right below the eyes then throw away the eyes and ink sack. In this picture, the tentacles are on the right, the eyes are in the middle and the ink sack is on the far left.
Remove the pen
Thanks to you guys for correcting me, the “pen”, which I referred to as the “beak” in my video is the hard and plastic like shell inside the tube of the squid. You can simply remove it by pulling it out and the whole thing will just pop out. Throw it in the trash along with the eyes and ink sack.
Cut into rings
After the pen has been removed from the tube section of the squid, cut them in to 1/2 – 1 inch rings. The thicker they are, the less likely they will be to overcook.
Rinse under cold water
After all the tentacles and rings have been prepared, rinse under cold water to get rid of any ink and unwanted slime from the squid. Strain and pat dry then they are ready to be tossed in the buttermilk solution.
Why corn starch in the calamari batter?
Corn starch is a key component in my dry seasoning batter. The corn starch prevents gluten development which will ultimately create a crispier outer coating that lasts longer. From personal experience, corn starch doesn’t brown as quickly as flour which is why we must add flour as well.
What temperature should we fry calamari?
The temperature of the oil is the most important factor when cooking calamari. Since they are small pieces, they will good very quickly but we still need them to get crisp and golden. Because of this, I cook the calamari once my oil reaches at least 375F. It is likely that the oil will drop below 350F after you place the squid into the oil.
Another thing to note is that there will be an initial flare up in the oil because of the flour. So be sure to leave space in your pot, otherwise the oil will overflow and make a mess. Another way to prevent overflowing is by cooking the calamari in batches.
Crispy Fried Calamari
- 400 g squid
- 1½ tbsp corn starch
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup AP flour
- ½ cup corn starch
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- ½ tbsp black pepper
- ½ tbsp paprika
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 cup mayo
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1½ tsp lemon juice
- Mix all garlic mayo ingredients together then set aside.1 cup mayo, 1 tsp salt, 3 cloves garlic, 1½ tsp lemon juice, parsley
- Remove skin from squid by peeling with fingers. If there is any trouble, rinse with water while peeling to help.400 g squid
- Separate the tentacles from the tube. Cut just below the eyes leaving only the tentacles and throw the eyes away.
- Remove the pen from the tube which is the plastic like object. A simple tug and pull should remove the entire thing.
- Cut the remaining tube into rings about ½ – 1 inch in thickness.
- Rinse off the rings and tentacles in water then strain and dry.
- Sift in corn starch and add buttermilk. Mix then set aside while you make the seasoning flour.1½ tbsp corn starch, 1 cup buttermilk
- Mix together all seasoning flour ingredients.1 cup AP flour, ½ cup corn starch, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp onion powder, ½ tbsp black pepper, ½ tbsp paprika, ½ tbsp salt
- Using a strainer, take out the raw squid from the buttermilk so that the excess buttermilk drips off. Add all of the squid into the seasoning flour and toss with hands until fully coated.
- Heat up a pot of oil until hit 375F
- Using a spyder or strainer, dust off the excess flour from the calamari and fry in batches for 2 minutes making sure not to overcrowd.
- Season with salt immediately after frying.
- Top with parsley, serve with lemon and garlic mayo.parsley, lemon
If you enjoyed this, check out some more crispy recipes here: