Sweet & Spicy Calamari

May  3, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 8 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

The sauce is the star of this crowd-pleasing appetizer! Toss your fried calamari in the sauce or serve alongside -- either way it's sure to be a hit!! - SouffleBombay —SouffleBombay

Test Kitchen Notes

We're all familiar with the range when it comes to fried calamari -- there are fat, chewy rings with a shaggy-crisp battered shell and a few lemon wedges served on the side; and then there are more subtle renditions, tossed simply in flour, salt and pepper before frying, allowing the squid to take center stage. This recipe inclines more towards the second version, but it's accompanied by a lively chili dipping sauce spiked with honey and sesame oil. We loved SouffleBombay's technique of soaking the squid in club soda before dredging them in seasoned flour -- it seemed to firm up the rings -- in a pleasant way -- before frying. The crisp coating is thin and delicate, swaddling the squid like a silk scarf rather than a wooly muffler. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Calamari
  • 1 pound calamari tubes (frozen is fine)
  • 6 ounces of club soda
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 dashes salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
  • Sweet & Spicy Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  1. Slice the calamari tubes into rings about 1/4 inch wide.
  2. Pour the club soda into a medium bowl, place the calamari rings in the club soda, stir until all are submerged. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile combine the flour, salt and pepper, toss until combined. Set aside.
  4. Combine the chili garlic sauce, honey and sesame oil, mix well. Set aside.
  5. Drain the calamari, blot dry.
  6. Dredge the calamari, one at a time, in the flour mixture and set on a plate until ready to fry.
  7. Heat 1-2 inches of oil in a deep, heavy pot to 375 F. Once ready, place 1/4 of the calamari in the oil and fry for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until golden. Don't overcrowd. When you pull it out, place on a paper towel-lined plate and blot gently. Repeat.
  8. Toss with prepared sauce and garnish with sesame seeds if you happen to have them on hand OR serve sauce alongside the calamari. Enjoy!!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SouffleBombay
  • inpatskitchen
  • mrslarkin
  • nannydeb
  • ChefMommy

30 Reviews

Naneki January 25, 2023
Delicious and straightforward recipe. I am not a Thai chili sauce fan, but balanced with the acid and heat, this marinade and sauce made this a fabulous grilled calamari dish.
Bob November 23, 2015
What a wonderful recipe. I love spicy calamari. You did a great job.
Jameskinn November 14, 2014
How can I do this ahead with minimal time frying at a beer party? Can low temp fry at home and finish high temp at the party as you do French fries?
cadfael March 27, 2012
what would be an example of chili garlic sauce?
SouffleBombay April 9, 2012
Here is an image of the exact sauce I always have on hand (found in my grocery store in the Asian section)

Here is a homemade version from someone I know

I use this sauce as a springboard to many marinades and sauces!
nnsnmp December 20, 2011
I am drooling just looking at the picture.
SouffleBombay May 18, 2011
Whoohoo!! Can you see my SMILE??? Thanks so much everyone!
Enjoy the recipe!!!
Juliette May 18, 2011
Congratulations on your win! I can't wait to make your recipe!
inpatskitchen May 18, 2011
Congratulations!! Like I said at the beginning: I love this!!
mrslarkin May 18, 2011
congrats to you!
nannydeb May 18, 2011
Congratulations! Great recipe!
mamas S. May 16, 2011
I think this would be an excellent appetizer for someone who has never tried squid such as myself I love the sweet and sour combination and the delicate crunch of the calamari rings!
Egela2011 May 16, 2011
I love spicy food and this sounds wonderful. cayenne pepper is delicious with these morsels. This would be great with friends.
PsychoChef May 16, 2011
I think that this would be something I would like to try. I have had fried calamari before, but i like the idea of kicking up with the heat from the chili sauce and the sweetness of honey. AWESOME IDEA!!!! Good luck on the finals
ChefMommy May 16, 2011
I think this would be an excellent appetizer for someone who has never tried squid such as myself and love the sweet-spicy combination as well as the delicate crunch of the clamari rings. I would recommend this recipe
RIPNGUITAR May 16, 2011
I think the spices are perfect for calamari. the cayenne really brings it all together. These are great with cold beer. This is the dish that will get all the attention
lmayb6 May 16, 2011
Deep fried calamari, crunchy with sweet hot dipping sauce, sounds wonderful, great combination!
ChefMommy May 16, 2011
It's always nice to read other peoples kitchen tricks. I have always been a fan of crunchy and paired with sweet and spicy it sounds delicious.
SouffleBombay May 15, 2011
Thanks so much, how exciting!! !! This is one of those apps that you need to fight for to get your share when served lol! Enjoy!!
boulangere May 16, 2011
Mmmmm. Me too. Crunch, sweet, hot. What's not to love?
cookinginvictoria May 15, 2011
Congratulations on being chosen as a finalist! Your adaptation of deep fried calamari looks great -- very delicate and not at all heavy. I also love the idea of that zesty dipping sauce!
prettyPeas May 13, 2011
This sounds great. I like to marinate my calamari in buttermilk, but I think I'll give club soda a chance. Your dipping sauce also sounds right up my alley, though I usually use Thai sweet chili sauce