This is an impressive dinner party starter. There is a common misconception that calamari should be eaten at restaurants only. This is simply untrue. The preparation can be done in advance and the frying done at the last minute. Calamari should be cooked at a high heat and for the shortest time possible. It takes minutes to prepare and simply delicious.
500g calamari tubes, Falklands please!
1 tsp white pepper
Salt to season
100g plain flour
Sunflower oil to deep fry
Fresh coriander and spring onion to garnish
1 – 2 dried red chillies, roasted
1 Tbsp Muscovado sugar
75ml lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
50ml fish sauce
To make the dressing: Pound the roasted red chillies. Combine sugar, lemon juice, fish sauce and garlic. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Place calamari in a colander and drain off excess moisture. Slide a sharp knife into the calamari tube and cut through one side of the tube. Open the tube and place flat on a cutting board. Score a criss-cross diamond pattern lightly into the flesh. Take care not to cut all the way through. Season flour with salt and white pepper. Heat oil in large frying pan on a medium to high heat. Gently toss the calamari in seasoned flour. Test the oil by dropping a piece of floured calamari into the hot oil. It should sizzle and splutter and change colour quickly. Deep fry floured calamari in 2 batches. This should take about a minute. The calamari should be medium golden brown in colour. Lift out of oil with a slotted spoon and briefly drain in a colander. Serve hot with the dressing on the side. Garnish with fresh coriander and spring onion.
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– Always use Falklands calamari. In JHB, I always buy calamari at Oceanfresh Seafoods. Do not use calamari steaks or frozen rings.
– If you are short on time, ask the fishmonger to slice the calamari into rings.
– For a creamy dipping sauce…Mix together 125mI good quality mayonnaise with a drop of wasabi. The wasabi adds a bit of heat and excitement to the calamari.
– For a less spicy dipping sauce….add 1 clove of finely grated garlic to 125ml mayonnaise. Ensure that the mayonnaise is stirred well enough to make sure that the garlic is evenly distributed.
– Serve with lemon wedges.
– To make a meal of this dish simply serve it with a crunchy salad and one of your favourite Spekko Rice variants, Spekko Brown Rice would be a winner with this dish!