Crispy Calamari Salad


May 9, 2013

Author: KatieChin

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If feels like spring has finally sprung everywhere (including Minneapolis where my sister Laura told me the 8 inches of snow that fell last week finally melted!) and it’s put me in the mood to re-post this delicious Crispy Calamari Salad. Why?  Because the bright colors and zingy dressing along with the crispy crunch of the calamari just feels so fresh and pretty, like the perfect spring day.

Don’t you just love it when you order crispy calamari at a restaurant?  It’s crispy and flavorful but doesn’t leave you feeling heavy.  Maybe you thought you couldn’t tackle it home but I’m here to tell you that it’s super simple and fast.  Here’s my Thai version with the crispy calamari perched atop mixed greens, tomatoes and veggies in a refreshing dressing made with cilantro, mint, lime juice, brown sugar and lemongrass.  I just made this salad for my fashion super star friend Jeannie Mai.  Jeannie’s on a gluten free diet so I simply dusted the calamari in cornstarch and omitted the flour.  You can find 5 Spice Powder in the gourmet section at Cost Plus World Market.  This exciting combination of flavors will take your taste buds on a joy ride!  Buckle up and hold on tight.


1 lb calamari, cleaned and cut into ½-in rings

1 cup flour

1 cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon five spice powder

pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil or corn oil for frying

more salt and pepper to taste


2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons minced lemongrass

1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

3 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil


½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Thai or Italian basil

1/2 cup red pepper, thinly sliced

3 cups mixed baby greens

fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  • Combine flour, cayenne pepper, five spice powder and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. In a large wok or deep skillet, heat 2 to 3 inches (5 cm – 7.3 cm) of the oil to 350ºF (175°). Toss the calamari in the seasoned flour mixture. Shake excess flour off the calamari and fry in the oil until golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon or spider and allow to drain on cookie sheet lined with paper towel. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, lemongrass, palm sugar, red pepper flakes, cilantro and mint. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and sesame oil until well blended.
  • In a large serving bowl, combine tomatoes, cilantro, basil, red pepper and baby greens. Add all but 2 tbsp dressing and toss to combine. Arrange calamari on top of salad. Drizzle the remaining dressing over calamari. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.