I’m a self-confessed squid aka calamari lover. Be it steamed, grilled and of course fried, I can’t seem to get enough of this cephalopod. But not when they are all chewy and rubbery. I’m talking about the sweet and succulent kind with just enough bounce to keep my jaw in business.
Making fried calamari at home is not that daunting. But getting the texture right is another level. Besides briefly cooking them over high heat, there is a little chef trick you could do to replicate a restaurant-quality dish at home.
Simply prepare a liquid bath consisting of milk and vinegar (aka buttermilk) and soak the cut squid rings for a couple of hours to overnight in the fridge.
Coat them with a thin tempura batter and you’ll get crisp, golden-brown pieces of calamari that everyone will gobble them up and thank you for.
3 to 4 pieces (approx. 500 g) medium fresh squid
1 ½ cups buttermilk (or mix 1 ½ cup milk with 1 ½ tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice)
1 cup Tempura flour – I’m using Gogi brand (substitute with other brands if unavailable)
1 cup of Tempura flour + 1 ½ cup iced water
Salt and Pepper
Cooking oil for frying
Clean and cut the squid into rings or desired cuts. Click here to see how to clean squid.
Soak cut squid in buttermilk for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours.
Drain the squid from the buttermilk and coat with 1 cup of tempura flour and season with paprika, salt and pepper.
I like to place the flour and seasonings in a bag and shake it to coat the squid evenly.
In another bowl, add iced cold water to another cup of tempura flour and mix well.
Heat enough oil in a deep pot. The temperature should be about 160°C. Test with a chopstick or bamboo skewer. You should be able to see tiny bubbles around it.
Dip the floured squid rings (a few pieces at a time) in the batter and carefully place into the hot oil.
Cook for 45 seconds to 1 min and remove from oil. Drain on paper towel.
Turn up heat to high and fry the squid again to further crisp up the batter.
Sprinkle with more salt and pepper and serve hot.