Simple tempura-battered fried calamari recipe is a great appetizer that is simple to make, packed with crunch and flavor, and is always a show stopper. Conquering squid is a challenge for some. This recipe, however, makes it easy for even a novice home cook to manage. A simple light tempura batter turns into a crispy coating you will love.
Fried Calamari Recipe
Have you ever had calamari at a restaurant and been afraid to make it at home? Squid is definitely something a bit different on the menu for most of us, but it is a great addition. Making this fried calamari recipe is going to be much easier than you think! I love how simple it is, but mostly how everyone at the table loves this and is shocked I made it myself!
Don't be afraid of working with seafood, especially something different like squid. It really is much easier than you imagine, and the results will have you feeling like the queen or king of the kitchen!
Where Can I Buy Squid?
I purchase fresh squid at a local fish market. If you do not live near the water, you can ask around your area for the best grocery store that has squid available. Fresh is better than frozen, but it can be hard to find. Larger groceries in metropolitan areas are more likely to have fresh squid available.
When buying squid, look for clean ocean scent and look shiny and plump. You don't want to purchase calamari that is deflated. When in doubt, ask the fish monger for fresh stock and when it was caught and brought into the store.
How Can I Tenderize Calamari?
There are a few different methods of making sure you have tender calamari. Following these tips will help you to have the best overall results.
First, make sure you cook the fried calamari fast and at a hot temperature. You want it to be just cooked through. When you overcook squid, it ends up being far too tough to enjoy. So, frying like this is a great way to ensure tender calamari in minutes.
The other method of tenderizing calamari is to freeze it the night before you plan to cook it and thaw in the refrigerator before cooking. Many say that freezing and thawing helps to tenderize the squid.
Another popular recommendation is to soak the squid rings for an hour in milk before battering and frying. Milk tends to help tenderize the rings and can be a way to impart flavor if you season the milk as a marinade.
What Are the Best Calamari Dipping Sauces
My simple dipping sauce is easy to make and perfect for use with fried calamari because it is rich, zesty, and easy to make. I typically have the ingredients on hand already, which makes it even easier to manage.
However, you may want to serve your recipe with more options. If that is the case, you can serve with some simple marinara or pasta sauce, alfredo sauce, a ranch sauce, or even this spicy jalapeno dip recipe. It might even pair well with this bleu cheese dip recipe. All can give the fried calamari a different flavor while also being simple to make and delicious.
Ingredients for Squid
- Carbonated/Soda water
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
Additional: If desired, milk for soaking before cooking
Ingredients For Dipping Sauce
- Sour cream
- Lemon zest
- Garlic clove
- Dijon mustard
How to Make Fried Calamari Recipe
Begin by cutting the squid into ¼" wide rings. Rinse these rings and then put them into a bowl of milk to soak for one hour.
Prepare a pan or deep fryer with hot oil.
While the oil is coming to temperature, put part of the flour in a shallow bowl for dredging and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika then mix in the carbonated water and whisk well until minimal or no lumps remain.
Dip your squid rings into the dredging flour, and then into the tempura batter before dropping them into the hot oil.
Cook for 2-3 minutes and then remove from the oil and set aside on paper towels to drain.
Whip up the dipping sauce ingredients in another small bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the dipping sauce alongside the fresh crispy fried calamari.
Ingredients for Fried Squid
- 4 squid
- 1 ½ cup flour + extra for dredging
- 10 oz soda water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Ingredients for Dipping Sauce
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- For this recipe, you will need to cut the squid into ⅓" wide rings. Rinse the rings and then place them into a bowl of milk for soaking.
- Soak the squid for at least one hour, then remove them from the milk and set aside.
- Prepare a pan or deep fryer with oil for frying.
- While the oil is heating, combine the flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and carbonated water in a bowl and whisk well.
- Put a bit of flour into a shallow bowl and dredge the squid before then dipping into the tempura batter.
- Shake off excess batter and place into hot oil to fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Once cooked, place them on a paper lined plate to drain.
- While the calamari is cooling, mix together the dipping sauce ingredients.
- Serve immediately with sauce.
Make your dipping sauce ahead of time and refrigerate to help meld the flavors together better.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 982mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 15g