Do you love calamari? How about tempura? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then you’re going to love this recipe for crispy calamari tempura. This dish is made with calamari that is coated in a delicious and authentic tempura batter. The end result is a dish that has a super crispy exterior and a soft and chewy interior.
All about Calamari
Calamari is made from squid and is a delicacy in many countries around the world. The delicate mild flavor and tender texture of calamari are perfect when paired with bold sauces or even prepared with a little bit of butter.
You can serve calamari fried, grilled, or in pasta dishes and soups. Calamari is often salted and breaded before frying, which gives it its signature crunchy texture. Many people enjoy calamari as an appetizer or side dish, but it can also be used to make linguine with calamari sauce or other seafood dishes.
In some cultures, calamari may be served deep-fried whole instead of being sliced into rings. In this recipe, the calamari is cut into rings, and the tempura batter is made from scratch. The tempura batter gives the calamari a beautiful golden-brown crust.
Regardless of how you like to prepare your calamari, this versatile seafood offers a rich flavor that pairs well with many different cuisine styles. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Calamari Tempura
- Corn flour
- Cake flour
- Sparkling water (cold)
- Egg (cold)
- Big ice cubes
- Neutral-tasting oil
- Lemon wedges
How to Make Calamari Tempura
Prep the calamari.
- If your calamari was not cleaned and chopped in the supermarket, remove the skin and slice it.
- Pat the calamari rings with paper towels to get them as dry as possible. Cover them and place them in the fridge.
Prep the batter.
- Whisk one egg and add salt.
- Add the sparkling water to the egg mixture.
- Add the corn flour and cake flour.
- Add a few ice cubes to the batter to keep it as cold as possible.
- Remove the ice cubes and place them in a second bowl with more ice and water.
- To keep the batter cold, place the bowl of batter on top of the ice water bowl.
Prep mise en place.
- Fill the pan with frying oil and heat it on medium heat.
- Place the containers in the following order: bowl with corn flour, bowl with batter, pan with heated oil, and a plate lined with paper towels.
Cook the calamari.
- Dip each calamari ring in the corn flour, dust off the excess, and dip it in the batter.
- Place the battered pieces in the frying oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown.
- Place each fried ring on the plate lined with paper towels for the excess oil to be absorbed.
- Serve with lemon wedges and the dipping sauce of your choice.
Tips for the Best Calamari Tempura
These are my favorite tips on how to make the best calamari tempura:
- Choose high-quality squid. Look for fresh squid that has been cleaned and sliced into rings by your local seafood market or grocery store.
- Do not over mix the batter. It’s okay to leave some lumps. These lumps will become crispy when they are fried.
- Keep the batter cold by using cold ingredients, adding some ice cubes to the mixture, and then using the ice water bowl under the batter bowl. But don’t leave the ice cubes in the batter or it will get watered down.
- The sparkling water helps form bubbles in the batter, which helps the crust become extra crispy.
- When frying the calamari, do not overcrowd the pan or the pieces will stick together.
- Try these dipping sauces: Sriracha mayo, hoisin sauce, and garlic lemon yogurt.
Calamari Tempura FAQs
What can I substitute for the corn flour and cake flour?
Substitutes for the corn flour and cake flour that can give the batter different textures, flavors, and colors. Many people like to use cornstarch or potato starch for a lighter and crispier consistency. You can also add baking powder or baking soda for some extra fluffiness.
What can I substitute for the sparkling water?
You can substitute beer or club soda for the sparkling water.
Can I adjust the amount of oil that I use?
The amount of oil you use will have an effect on the end result. Less oil will give you a lighter and crispier tempura, while more oil will result in a heavier and oilier texture.
Where can I find ingredients for making calamari tempura?
Many grocery stores carry fresh seafood, including calamari. You can also find frozen or packaged squid at most large grocery stores or Asian specialty markets.
Other Seafood Recipes
This recipe makes the crispiest calamari tempura with authentic homemade tempura batter. It has a super crispy exterior with a soft chewy calamari interior. Pair this calamari tempura with your favorite dipping sauce to impress any seafood lover.
- 1 calamari, cleaned and cut in wheels (mine was almost 1 pound)
- 1 oz gr corn flour + 1 cup more
- 5 oz weak flour (cake flour)
- 7 fl oz sparkling water (cold)
- 1 egg (cold)
- 3-4 big ice cubes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Enough neutral-tasting oil to deep fry
- Lemon wedges
1. Start by prepping the calamari if yours is not been already cleaned and chopped by your fishmonger, clean, remove the skin and cut in wheels.
2. Pat with kitchen towels the calamari rings to make sure they are as dry as possible. Set aside in the fridge (covered)
3. Fill the pan with the frying oil and heat it on medium heat.
4. Prep the batter:
- With all the ingredients cold, start by whisking one egg, and add the salt to the egg.
- Add the sparkling water to the egg.
- Add the cornflour and the weak flour.
- Add a couple of ice cubes to the batter to keep it as cool as possible.
- Remove the ice cubes and put them in a second bowl with more ice and water.
- Place the batter bowl on top of the ice water bowl.
5. Prep the mise en place:
- 1 bowl with one cup of corn flour
- The bowl with the batter
- The pan with the heated oil
- A plate with kitchen towels ready for the fried calamari.
6. Dip each calamari ring in the corn flour, dust off the excess, and dip it in the batter.
7. Place the battered pieces in the frying oil and let fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
8. Place each fried ring on the plate with the kitchen towel to allow the excess oil to be absorbed.
9. Serve with some lemon wedges and the dipping sauce of your choice.
Do not overmix the batter, it’s ok to leave some lumps, these lumps will become crispy when fried so it’s not a problem. Make sure to keep the batter cold by using cold ingredients, adding some ice cubes to the mix, and then using the ice water bowl as explained. Do not leave the ice cubes in the batter otherwise, it will get watered down.
The sparkling water will also help form the batter bubbles that will become extra crispy.
When frying the calamari do not overcrowd the pan, otherwise, the pieces will stick together.
Good dipping sauces are:
- Sriracha mayo.
- Hoisin sauce
- Garlic lemon yogourt