Friday, February 29, 2008

Calamares Fritos Recipe

Calamares is one of the country's most famous dishes, either with rice or with ice cold beer, as pulutan that is. It is also one of the easier Filipino dishes to cook. Perhaps this explains the increasing popularity of street vendors selling calamares nowadays. To those, however, who are squeamish about street food, the deliciously tempting aroma of calamares cooking in the hot oil can be sheer torture, just ask my mom.

That is why we make our own. Here's my recipe:

Calamares Fritos


1/2 kilo medium-sized squid
for dredging:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
for the batter:
1 egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup very cold water

Cooking oil for deep frying


Clean squid and remove insides and ink, leaving only the body and tentacles. Cut squid horizontally, to create about 1/4 inch rings.

Beat egg and blend in flour. Add very cold water and stir until batter is smooth.

Combine dry ingredients for dredging- flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the squid in the seasoned flour. Use a covered container or a plastic bag to make sure squid is covered well.

Using chopsticks to prevent the flour and batter from clumping, dip floured squid into the cold batter and deep fry in hot oil. Do not overcook to keep squid tender, about one minute or just when the batter turns crispy.

Dip suggestions:

Combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise with desired amount of tomato/banana ketchup, mustard, minced fresh garlic, or wasabi.

Notes for crunchier Calamares:

Use very cold water in your batter. You may adjust the amount of water in the batter but in no case should it resemble hotcake batter. The batter should have the consistency of crepe batter, not thick. Only put in the battered squid in very hot oil. You will know if the oil is hot enough when smoke starts to develop from the sides of the pan. Or try dropping a little batter in the water, if it sizzles and the batter floats to the surface as soon as it hits the oil, then it is hot enough. If the batter sinks without any event, the oil is not ready.

Double fry your calamares. After you fry your calamares for the first time, let it rest for a few minutes. During this resting period, the once crispy calamares will soften a little. To seal in the crispiness, fry the calamares for the second time for a few seconds until the crust turns crispy again. This process will help seal in the crispiness of your calamares helping it remain crispy longer.

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