Fried calamari is one of my favorite summer meals. And it is very cheap and easy to make at home. I must admit that cleaning squid is not favorite cooking activity but it doesn’t take very long and the finish product is well worth it. If you don’t feel like doing it, you can always buy them cleaned. The cornmeal and panko coating make the calamari rings extra crispy, just how I love them! For the buns, I just got them frozen at my local Asian store. Just 5 minutes in the steamer since they are quite small and I was done. No need to thaw them.
For the sauce, this time I went for Korean. For some freshness, I added a cucumber and radish salad in a sesame dressing. It is such a great combination with the crispy calamari. My hubby and I finished everything in no time.
This recipe makes 10 small sandwiches.
10 small steamed buns, I get the frozen ones.
500grs of squid, about 8 small ones (cleaned)
For the coating:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups of panko
1 cup of cornmeal
½ teaspoon of onion powder
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
4 eggs, beaten
For the Korean sauce:
4 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 ½ tablespoons of minced ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of Korean chili paste
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of honey
1/3 of a cup of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
For the cucumber and radish salad with sesame dressing:
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
10 radishes, thinly sliced
¼ of a cup of sesame oil
1/3 of a cup of white vinegar
3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of white sesame seeds
1 litter of vegetable oil
Coriander for garnish
Start by making the sauce. Place the sesame oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the minced ginger, garlic and Korean chili paste. Cook while stirring for about 1 minute. Then add the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce and white vinegar. Stir until everything is well mixed and the sugar has dissolved. Once the sauce is ready, set it aside in a bowl.
To make the cucumber and radish salad, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing until evenly combined. Then add the sliced cucumber and radish and mix well. Set it aside.
Then start to prepare the squid. You can ask your fishmonger to clean them for you or you can do it yourself. If you have never cleaned a squid before, start by slicing the tentacles off. Just slice it below the eyes. Reserve the tentacles but discard of the beak.
Then holding the body, pull out the head and the inner parts. Also remove the flaps. What I like to do is pull the squid inside out so I can rinse it properly under cold water, don’t forget to also rinse the tentacles. Then pull it back to normal and peel the thin skin so that you are left with only white meat. Pat the squid dry with some paper towels and then slice it into small rings. Repeat for all.
Once all your squid are cleaned, start making the coating. In a medium bowl, mix the panko, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Have another bowl ready with the beaten eggs and another one with the flour.
Dip each squid ring and tentacle in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the panko/cornmeal mixture. Repeat for all. Once all the calamari is well coated, place it on a tray in a single layer and keep it in the fridge until ready to fry.
In the meanwhile, start prepping your steamed buns. I got them frozen and they went into my steamer for 5 minutes without thawing. The time will depend on the instructions in the package.
Then place the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry he calamari in batches until they are golden. This will only take a few minutes per batch. Just make sure the oil is not too hot that it burns them quickly.
Serve each bun with some of the cucumber and radish salad, calamari and drizzle some of the Korean sauce. Serve straight away. Enjoy!