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Fried Calamari

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Fried Calamari

This is the best fried calamari recipe around. Really easy too.

I’ve been making this fried calamari recipe since I was in my early 20s back in Monterey California. You can catch the most delicious baby calamari there in the bay. I used to love going deep see fishing and the first step was catching baby calamari to use as bait.

I always ensured I got some for myself too.

If squid isn’t cooked correctly, it becomes tough and not very nice. This fried calamari recipe will get you the amazingly tender and delicious results each and every time. 

The secret is in marinating the calamari in milk overnight!

This might seem a bit odd to some but stay with me here! Dairy products like yoghurt and milk are the best natural tenderisers. Cut your squid into rings and place with the tentacles in a large mixing bowl. 

Cover with milk and then cling film and place in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.

If you are marinating the tentacles, the milk will turn pink in colour. No problem there. It’s natural and you are going to discard the milk anyway.

Milk isn’t the only thing that make this recipe superior!

When cooking squid, you need to quickly fry in for about a minute or cook it for a long time like you would in a fish stew.


In this case, we are frying it so you need to be very careful to ensure you fry the squid for no longer than a minute. Get your oil up to temperature as I explain in the following recipe and you are in for crispy calamari perfection. 

How to serve this fried calamari…

I decided to write down this recipe while writing my next cookbook ‘The Curry Guy Thai’ which is out next year. So I served it with this homemade Thai sweet chilli sauce it boy was it good!

That said, there isn’t really anything Thai about the simple batter. This calamari recipe can be served with the sauce of your choice. Try in with garlic mayo, hot sauce, whatever sounds good.

So are you ready to get started?

whisking eggs

Only use the freshest, free range eggs!

whisking milk and eggs


Adding marinated squid to eggs

Add the milk marinated squid to the milk and egg mixture.

adding squid to flour mixture

Add the squid to the flour mixture.

Frying calamari

It is important to only fry the squid in small batches.

fried calamari

Crispy and tender every time!

Fried squid

Dig in!

Love Thai food? Try some of these delicious recipes!

Thai Green Curry
Thai Red Curry
Beef Massaman Curry
Chicken Satay and peanut sauce
Thai Drunken Noodles
Steamed Sea Bass with Garlic and Lime Sauce
Tom Yum Gai
Tom Kha Gai
Hot and Sour Prawn Soup

Yield: 4 - 6

Fried Calamari

fried calamari
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 15 minutes


  • 900g (2 lbs.) small squid tube with tentacles – cleaned*
  • 250ml (1 cup) full fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 120g (1 cup) cornflour (corn starch)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • Rapeseed oil for deep frying
  • Flaky sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the whole squid tubes and tentacles in
    a bowl and cover with the milk. Milk is a natural tenderiser which gives the squid a perfect texture when fried so be sure the squid is completely covered.
  2. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge overnight to marinate.
  3. When ready to cook, remove the squid from the
    milk marinade and whisk in two eggs until smooth. Return the squid to the liquid.  
  4. Now mix the two flours in a large mixing bowl with the salt and chilli powder if using and heat about 750ml (3 cups) of oil in a wok and heat to 190c/375f over medium high heat. If the oil is not hot enough, your calamari will become oily
    and soggy instead of deliciously crispy.
  5. It is important not to over-crowd the pan so cook the squid in batches. Dip the squid into the flour mixture and ensure each piece is coated evenly and then fry for about a minute or until golden brown.
  6. Transfer the calamari to a paper towel to soak up the excess oil and repeat until all cooked.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with sweet chilli dip.

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Sunday 27th of December 2020

Do I leave squid out at roomtempbefore frying

Dan Toombs

Monday 28th of December 2020

I think it is best to use the squid straight out of the fridge as I would worry about leaving fish out at room temperature. Thanks Dan


Sunday 27th of December 2020

After the squid has been in milk for 12 hours do I bring to room temperature before frying?

Dan Toombs

Monday 28th of December 2020

I would cook the squid straight out of the fridge. Thanks Dan

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