Calamari is deep-fried squid. If that
first sentence doesn't discourage you, read on!
What you need:
or tempura mix
for deep frying; optional but highly recommended)
oil for deep frying
Several bowls and a plate
I'll admit right away that I'm being lazy with
the batter. You can use plain, all-purpose flour, or
you can use tempura mix. Or you can use some other batter
if you have a recipe you like. Whatever suits you.
Start with the squid. Clean it if it's not already
cleaned, taking care to remove the easily-overlooked
beaks in the middle of the tentacles and the plastic-like
skeletal thing from the head. Cut the head into rings
about 1/2" wide and leave the tentacles as one
First, put some oil in a pot or pan and set it to
heat to 350 degrees. How much oil depends on how big
the pan is and how much you're making. I like to use
1/2" of oil in a small, thick-bottomed pot, so
the temperature remains even. While the oil is heating
set up the battering and breading station. In one bowl,
pour some flour or mix by itself. In the next bowl,
mix flour or whatever with some very cold water, but
don't mix it too thoroughly or it'll fry up tough.
You just want to break up the big lumps, and the batter should
be just thick enough to stick to the squid. (Yeah, this
is vague, but you'll get a feel for it very quickly.
Or, if you have a box of tempura mix, it'll have exact
amounts listed.) Put some panko in the next bowl, if
you're using panko. Finally, put some paper towels flat
on a plate; this will be where you drain the calamari
after it comes out of the oil.
When the oil is hot, take the squid, a few pieces
at a time, and dredge them in the dry flour or mix until
they are completely covered. This will help the batter
stick. Then dip the pieces in the batter coating them
completely, and finally drop them into the panko and
roll them around to give them that nice fuzzy layer.
Then drop them into the oil one by one. Only fry them
until the breadcrumbs brown, turning once to cook them
evenly, then take them out and put them on the paper
towels to drain off the excess oil. They should only
take a minute or so to cook. If you cook them longer
they will get very tough!
Serve with whatever dipping sauce you like. I'm partial
to tempura sauce myself.