Making Calamari At Home? 5 Tips To Perfect It At Home

A plate of crispy calamari may be the perfect snack and though it may look like a simple recipe, acing calamari at home is harder than you think. Calamari is crispy, batter-fried squid which is made by dredging the squid in flour. The texture is key to attaining the right kind of crisp calamari; if your fish is too dry or soggy the calamari may not taste so great. If your batter is too thick or dense, you may not be able to taste the fish at all. 

Calamari is usually made by slicing the squid into rings before cooking. It can be grilled, sautéed, fried, or even served raw in dishes like sushi and sashimi. One of the most common and beloved preparations is deep-frying, where calamari is coated in a light batter or breadcrumb mixture and quickly fried until crispy and golden brown. If you’re planning to make this delicious snack at home, take a note of these pointers which can help you out.

Proper prep is key

Cleaning calamari may seem intimidating, but it's a straightforward process. Start by removing the head, tentacles, and internal organs from the body. Peel off the thin layer of skin from the body and rinse the squid under cold water to remove any remaining debris. Cut the cleaned squid into rings or strips, depending on your preference. Properly cleaned calamari ensures a clean and enjoyable eating experience without any unwanted grit or bitterness.

Tenderising is important

Calamari can sometimes be tough and chewy if not prepared correctly. To tenderise the squid, consider marinating it in a mixture of acidic ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar, or buttermilk. Acidic marinades help break down the proteins in the squid, resulting in a more tender and flavorful end product. Marinate the calamari for at least 30 minutes before cooking for the best results.

Coating for crispiness

The secret to achieving crispy calamari lies in the coating. For a light and crispy texture, coat the calamari in a mixture of flour, cornstarch, or breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, and your favourite spices. The coating helps create a crunchy exterior while locking in moisture, ensuring tender calamari with each bite. For an extra crispy finish, double-coat the calamari by dipping it in an egg wash before dredging it in the seasoned flour mixture

Perfecting the Fry

Deep-frying is the preferred method for cooking calamari, as it yields crispy and golden-brown results. Heat vegetable oil or peanut oil to 350°F (175°C) in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot. Carefully add the coated calamari to the hot oil in small batches to prevent overcrowding and ensure even cooking. Fry the calamari for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy, being careful not to overcook it, as this can result in tough and rubbery calamari.

Don’t miss the seasoning

Once the calamari is cooked to perfection, remove it from the oil using a slotted spoon or wire mesh skimmer and transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels. This helps absorb any excess oil and keeps the calamari crispy. Immediately season the hot calamari with a sprinkle of salt and any additional seasonings or spices of your choice, such as garlic powder, paprika, or grated Parmesan cheese, to enhance the flavour.