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Sri Lankan Fried Calamari

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Seriously delicious! Give this Sri Lankan fried calamari a try!

Sri Lankan fried Calamari simply doesn’t get any better than this! I learned this recipe at a restaurant called Refresh in Hikkaduwa, on the south west coast of Sri Lanka. Refresh specialises in fresh seafood and I got to watch the chefs prepare many different dishes one afternoon. Having tried their hot butter calamari the day before, I simply had to know how it was done.


The plated fried calamari.

The plated up finished fried calamari.

About this recipe

Often called Sri Lankan Devilled Calamari, this recipe is a bit of a mix between my own way of preparing calamari for cooking and the recipe I learned at Refresh for their amazing garlic and butter sauce. When I learned the recipe, they prepared it with cuttlefish that had just been brought in from the sea. It was extraordinary.

One of the best ways to ensure that your squid is a tender as can be, is to soak if overnight in milk. Yes, I know this sounds a bit strange but believe me, it works. There’s no point going to the work of preparing the delicious sauce if your calamari is tough. and chewy. This recipe will ensure perfection.

How to make this fried calamari recipe your own…

There are a number of ways that you can tailor this recipe to your own preference. 

I use a lot of chilli paste as I like my recipes spicy. This can of course be toned down or even upscaled depending on your spice preferences. 

You could add more or fewer of the peppers and garlic too.  I recommend tasting the sauce as you cook it and adjusting to taste. You really can’t go wrong. 

Step by step photos…

Step 1.

The measured ingredients laid out.

Measure out your ingredients as this makes things easier.

Step 2

The chilli powder, flour, salt and pepper.


Mix the flour, chilli powder, salt and pepper together.

Step 3

The squid in the egg mix.

Dip the squid in the egg mixture.

Step 4

The squid covered in flour.

Cover the egg washed squid with the flour.

Step 5

The oil being tested.

Put a chop stick in the oil, if the oil is hot enough the oil will bubble around the chop stick.

Step 6

Frying the squid.

Fry the squid in batches, around 1 minute per batch.

Step 7

Melting the butter.

Melt the butter in the wok.

Step 8

Garlic in the butter.

Swirl the garlic in the butter.

Step 9

Chilli paste in the butter.

Add the chilli paste to the butter and garlic.

Step 10

The butter and chilli.

Stir the chilli paste into the butter.

Step 11

Spring onions and bell pepper being added.

Add the spring onions and bell pepper to the butter.

Step 12

Spur chillies added.

Add the spur chillies to the wok and fry for a few minutes.

Step 13

Tossing in the calamari.

Toss the calamari in the wok.

Step 14

Coating the calamari in the sauce.

Coat the calamari in the vegetables and sauce.

Step 15

The served up dish.

Plate up your dish!

If you like this Sri Lankan fried calamari recipe, you might like to try some of these Sri Lankan dishes too…

Sri Lankan Black Pork Curry is one of the most popular Sri Lankan curries. Dark curry powder is used to make it darker and I have a recipe for that too
This delicious Sri Lankan Beef Curry is so easy to prepare. It tastes amazing and is super popular all over the island.
Sri Lankan Chicken Curry With Black Pepper – you are going to love this one!
If you like prawn curries, you are going to love this Sri Lankan prawn curry!

Yield: 4

Sri Lankan Fried Calamari

The plated fried calamari.


  • 900g (2 lbs) baby squid tubes, cleaned and cut into small bit sized rings
  • 500ml (2 1/4 cups) full fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g (1 cup) cornflour (corn starch)
  • 120g (1 cup) rice flour or more cornflour (corn starch)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • Rapeseed oil for deep frying
  • 5 generous tbsp butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chilli paste (see page 00) or any good quality Chinese chilli paste
  • 2 red spur chillies, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 3 dried bird’s eye chillies, roughly cut and soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 6 spring onions (scallions), cut in half and sliced into thin strips lengthwise
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips to match the spring onions (scallions)
  • Juice of one lime


  1. Place the squid 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. The milk will turn pink which is natural and fine.
  3. When ready to cook, remove the squid from the milk marinade and discard the milk. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and place the squid in it.
  4. Now mix the two flours on a plate with the salt, pepper and chilli powder. Dust the egg coated squid thoroughly with the flour mixture and shake off any excess flour. Set aside.
  5. Heat about 500ml (2 cups) of oil in a wok and heat to 190°C (375°F) over medium high heat. If you don’t have an oi thermometer, place a wooden chopstick or spatula in the oil. If thousands of little bubbles form and sizzle on contact, your oil is ready to cook.
  6. Cook the squid in small batches until crispy and lightly browned which will take about 1 minute per batch. Do not overcook the squid or it will become chewy.
  7. Transfer the cooked calamari to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Discard the cooking oil.
  8. Wipe your wok clean and add the butter. Melt the butter over a medium high heat and add the chopped garlic. Swirl the garlic around in the butter for about a minute and then stir in the chilli paste.
  9. Let this all sizzle for about 30 seconds and then stir in the spur chillies, spring onions (scallions) and bell pepper. Fry for a further minute or so and the pour in the fried calamari.
  10. Toss the calamari into the sauce to coat and then pour it all onto a serving plate. Season with salt and pepper to taste and squeeze the lime juice all over it.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 541Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 179mgSodium: 1355mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 21g

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