If you, like me, are a fan of the crispy seafood appetizer known as calamari that can be found on many seafood and Italian restaurant menus, you just might find yourself in love with this version that is usually found on the menu at Asian restaurants. Its crispy, its tender, its perfectly seasoned and after a few tries I finally realized its not that hard to make at home.
This is one of those dishes that has alluded me for a quite some time. I’m not joking when I say that I used to tell Ryan I was making salt and pepper calamari and he would, without much enthusiasm, say “Oh. OK. Well, you’re making something else too right?” But after my first few, over peppered, chewy, soggy, down right disastrous attempts at it, I began to think the same thing. I was this close to giving up on trying to recreate this at home and instead limit my experience with salt and pepper calamari to delivery from the local Chinese place. However, after some thought, I figured it best to give myself one more shot at it, and lo and behold it turned out good. Actually, it turned out really good.
Heat oil in a large pan or pot over medium high heat.
Place egg whites in one bowl, whisk slightly. In another bowl mix together cornstarch, flour, salt and pepper.
Dip calamari rings into egg, then place in cornstarch mixture and toss to coat. Shake any excess off.
Once oil reaches 375 degrees, begin frying calamari. You may need to do this in batches, be careful not to over crowd the pan or the calamari will stick together. Fry calamari for 2 minutes, do not over cook or it will become tough. Using a slotted spoon transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with a little more kosher salt, if desired. Serve.
Be sure to serve some Sweet Thai Chili Sauce on the side for dipping. Enjoy!