Five Spice Calamari

    1kg whole small calamari
    ½ cup (75g) plain flour¼ cup (55g) crushed sea salt flakes/salt
    1½ tablespoons ground white pepper
    1 tablespoon five spice powder
    1½ teaspoons chilli powder
    vegetable oil, for deep-frying
    lemon wedges for serving

  1. Clean calamari by gently pulling head and tentacles away from body. Remove clear backbone (quill) from inside body. Cut tentacles from head just below the eyes; discard head. Remove side fins and skin from body with salted fingers. Wash body, tentacles and fins thoroughly.

  2. Cut body to open out flat. Lightly score the inside of the flesh with a sharp knife in a diagonal pattern. Cut tentacles into pieces and fins into strips. Pat calamari dry on absorbent paper.

  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, five spice and chilli.

  4. Add a small handful of calamari to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Deep-fry calamari in hot oil until browned lightly and crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain well on absorbent paper. Repeat with remaining calamari and flour mixture. (Calamari is best eaten immediately but can be kept warm on a tray of absorbent paper in a very slow oven (120°C) while cooking batches.)

  5. Serve calamari with lemon wedges.


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