My son is a total seafood addict and if possible, he would be more than happy to eat seafood in any form on a daily basis. Believe it or not, his ultimate seafood favorite is squid (or calamari) -- which he fell in love with when he was just 4 yrs old and he hasn’t wavered in his loyalty since. So over the years, I have spent many hours in the kitchen creating various squid recipes but my Hot & Spicy Fried Calamari is not only his personal favorite but also a big hit among my family & friends.
If you’re a little squeamish about cooking or eating squid, then by all means feel free to substitute shrimp, rock shrimp, crawfish or even baby scallops for this recipe. Squid cooks very quickly, in just a matter of minutes so it’s best to have everything prepped & ready to go before hand. This dish comes together very quickly & is best eaten immediately.
HOT & SPICY FRIED CALAMARI
1 lb squid tubes (cleaned & trimmed)
1˝ to 2 cups all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
˝ tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chili powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
oil for frying (peanut, vegetable or canola)
fresh lemon or lime wedges for garnish
pinch of smoked Spanish paprika for garnish
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
On a clean work surface or cutting board, cut the squid tubes into roughly ˝” thick size rings. Pat the squid rings dry with a clean tea towel (or paper towel) to remove any moisture and set aside until needed.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour with the smoked Spanish paprika, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, garam masala, red chili powder, salt & pepper. Mix well to combine and add the squid rings. Toss to coat all the squid rings evenly with the seasoned flour.
Using a deep heavy bottom saucepan (cast iron works great) on medium high heat, add enough oil to fry. There should be roughly 3 to 3˝” inches of oil in the saucepan. When the oil is hot (around 350 degrees F), carefully add the calamari rings and fry for just about 1-2 minutes until lightly golden brown and crispy. You may need to do this in batches, do not add too many at once and overcrowd the pan. Then carefully remove the rings using a slotted spoon (or spider) and drain well on absorbent paper towels. While the squid rings are still warm, sprinkle them liberally with a little salt. Lastly, transfer the calamari to a serving plate and garnish with a light dusting of smoked Spanish paprika, the cilantro leaves and lemon wedges. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauces.