Saturday, August 21, 2010

Calamari Rings



Ho-kay. Here's one of those dishes I was enticed into trying out but ended up not liking. Argh ...

I happened to stumble upon this Calamari recipe which uses semolina flour for the coating. Isn't that interesting? Most other recipes use regular flour and/or breadcrumbs, so my curiosity was piqued, and of course I gave it a go. You never know till you've tried, right? So I tried. And now I know it's not something I would make again.

The coating was crumbly more than crispy. I wanted crispy. I wanted to hear a nice, loud "crrrr" when I bit into it. Sadly, I got none of that. :( Thank goodness for my Thai Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce. That saved the day.

Ah well ... one of those dishes. Win some, lose some. That's cooking.

Recipe
(from here)

- 1 squid, cleaned and cut into rings, and soaked in milk for at least 30mins*
- 1/4 cup semolina flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup (or more) vegetable oil (such as canola) for frying
* This was not stated in the recipe, but is something I always do. It tenderises the squid.


1. Pour semolina flour into a shallow bowl or onto a plate. Stir in the salt. Set aside.


2. Drain squid rings from milk. Roll them one by one in the flour and salt mixture until they are covered. Place floured rings on a clean plate next to the stove.

3. Pour oil into a small or medium-sized frying pan (the larger the pan, the more oil you will need). The oil should be about 1 inch deep.

4. Turn heat to medium-high, until the oil begins to bubble or "move" from the bottom of the pan. To test if oil is hot enough: using a pair of tongs, dip one of the calamari rings into the oil. If it sizzles and begins to cook, the oil is ready. Turn heat down to medium.

5. Place as many rings into the oil as can comfortably fit at one time. Be sure to stand back, as sometimes the oil can splatter and "pop" as the calamari cooks. Allow to fry about 1 minute, then turn the rings over to cook on the other side. The calamari should turn a light golden brown. Do no over-cook, or the calamari will turn rubbery.

6. When rings are done frying, remove from the oil and place on an absorbant towel or paper towel to drain.


7. Serve immediately while still hot. If desired, place calamari on a bed of lettuce or fresh coriander. Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice. I used my Thai Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce.

So pray tell, what's your secret to making deliciously crispy calamari rings?

35 comments:

  1. Sorry this wasn't as crispy as you wanted, but it looks fabulous! Calamari is one of my favorite appetizers to get when I go out.

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  2. They still look great to me!

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  3. After the coat, before the frying, they still look perfect as in they are going to turn out super crispy. Too bad they did not. I was planning to try other kind of "flour" as coating for pan-frying something too ...hmmmm...maybe I shd give up the idea or maybe...lose some afterall? :p

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  4. Ju, for all my fried, i will add rice flour to my plain flour. I read from books that rice flour actually makes it crisp. HTH.
    Nevertheless, your calamari rings still look inviting.

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  5. These still look great!
    If you want more crunch, try the triple dip method:
    1 - coat with flour
    2 - coat with egg
    3 - coat with flour again
    Then fry.

    Just before you dunk the rings in the oil, don't turn down the heat. By introducing the rings in the oil, it will already lower the temperature. A high temp (but not too hot that it smokes) is what gives the batter the crunch. Low temp will just cause the flour to absorb more oil, rather than become crispy.

    Hope this helps :)

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  6. How annoying to make something and it turns out NOT what you wanted. But still its good you ate them... Nothing worse than wasting calamari i say! It simply is my favourite thing!

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  7. I like crispy too, too bad it turned out not as what you like but the look is great

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  8. Does sounds tempting with the semolina flour, too bad it's not to your liking.

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  9. yummy! I love calamari rings and these look delicious!

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  10. that is a shame it didn't work out. could you try it with cornmeal flour? that would give it quite a good crunch wouldn't it?

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  11. Ju, it still looks good to me. I've always stayed away from making fried calamari as I'm afraid that I'll over cook it and we end up eating rubber bands.

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  12. I always use corn flour..gives a very light crust. And because I'm anal retentive that way, I make sure I dry the squid pieces on a paper towel to get rid of any excess surface moisture. maybe try that? :)

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  13. coat with a starchy flour like rice flour or corn flour in combined with regular flour? Uhm, does my statement make sense? :)

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  14. I agree with you about wanting a crispiness rather than a crumbliness, but the do look lovely. And putting text on the photo is so much fun isn't it? Looks very magazine like!

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  15. I liked crispy calamari rings too. Ahhhh...haven't had calamari for years.

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  16. Yumm
    I have always loved calamari rings- last year when my husband and I visited Spain my love reached a new level when I tried it in a sandwich- I strongly recommend you try these on a fresh bagguette!

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  17. I love the crumb that is made of a combination of rice flour, cornflour and wheat flour. Gives you the crunch!

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  18. Hey Ju, I had the most amazing (read *crrrr!*) calamari rings at Gayatri Restaurant (Indian) at Race Course Road last Thursday.

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  19. Ok, we know that semolina flour doesn't work. Thanks for saving us from repeating the same mistake.

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  20. I have not tried this but it looks delicious, though I would love the crunch too.

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  21. Plain flour mixed with cornflour. In the ratio of 1:1 works for me =)

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  22. Wow! Makes me salivate and crave for some now! It's so beautifully and nicely done, Ju! Yummy. Thanks for sharing your tips on the milk portion. :)

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  23. I watched a Japanese cooking show many years back, and the chef said that in order to get a really crispy exterior, one would have to coat the calamari (or pork cutlets, in the show) with corn flour. Then dust off the excess (very impt). Coat with beaten egg, then let the excess drip off. Finally, dip it in breadcrumbs.
    I've tried this method many times, and it's always worked. :)

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  24. Too bad it didn't turn out crunchy.. what about combo of rice and corn flour?

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  25. Ju, I once attended a team building cooking class. One of the recipe was Calamari.You have just reminded me of that class. The recipe called for dry flour coating but I made a mistake and turn it to a wet batter instead... so I had the chance to compare the difference in the 2... Let me find some time this week to dig out the recipe see if I can make it this week...

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  26. Thanks everyone for your very useful comments and suggestions. Looks like rice flour/corn flour is the preferred ingredient. I must try this again. Wish me luck!! :D

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  27. I love eating calamari rings, the best ones I have eaten so far are actually from a snack bar somewhere in Sydney, but yours look great as well...!

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  28. But just looking at the photos, they look really good! haha...food photography can be decieving!!
    I've never used semolina flour before......what does it taste like?

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  29. Cooking Gallery, Von: Oh, they are definitely edible. :) Just not what I was looking for. ;)

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  30. looks very good leh... maybe the oil not enough?

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  31. They look good to me! I love calamari rings :-)

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  32. What about using cornstarch instead of semolina? Wonder if that would make them crisper. Or how about a tempura-like batter made with sparkling water to keep the batter very airy?

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  33. Here's what I do:
    wash the squid, cut into rings, DRY the rings fully,
    mix flour, salt and powdered sweet paprika(the whole mix should get into an orangy type colour). Flour the rings, quick fry for a minute or so on each side. The paprika will add some extra crunchines ;)

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  34. Hi! Don't give up on the semolina flour. All you need to do is to refrigerate the coated calamari rings for about 30 mins and then fry. Nothing will drop off and you will get a really super crunchy coating. You can even try this with fish fillets..

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