Fried calamari is one of those dishes most people tend to reserve for restaurant dining. But fantastic fried squid is ridiculously easy to make at home and can be on the table in about 20 minutes.
The toughest part? Getting good squid. If possible, get it fresh. Buy the smallest squid you can find; large squid can be tough. To prepare the bodies, remove and discard the long, thin bone from inside, then use a knife to cut the body crosswise into thin rings.
If the tentacles are particularly large, they can be cut into chunks. Otherwise, they can be cooked whole.
If you buy frozen squid, it usually will be cut into rings already. Buy packages with small rings, then thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, place the frozen rings in a colander and thaw under cool running water.
Squid cooks very quickly — no more than 2 to 3 minutes — and will become tough if left in the oil too long.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup water
1 1/2 pounds calamari rings and tentacles, thawed if frozen
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and chili powder. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk just until smooth.
If any of the tentacles are larger than bite-size, cut them into smaller pieces. Add the calamari to the batter and gently toss until all the pieces are well coated.
In a large, deep skillet over medium-high, heat about 2 inches of oil to 365 degrees.
Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, use a fork, chopstick or tongs to lift pieces of calamari from the batter and set into the oil. Fry for about 2 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Serve the calamari immediately, accompanied by the dipping sauce. Serves 4.