Calamari and Yoghurt Dip: Kalamar Limonlu ve Sarımsaklı Sos

This is one of several recipes I will post – Turkish in origin, as part of a review of the cookbook A Gluten Free Taste of Turkey by Sibel Hodge.  Review will be at I am, Indeed on 30 January, 2013  So – my other half is not quite so “experimental” in his food tastes, but he will try most things I make.  I did a batch of these as a small snack – planning to make the rest of the calamari rings the next day as a small appetizer.  I didn’t get that chance – he not only ate the squid, but he even enjoyed the dip – after he added more “heat” to it.  I could eat a plate of these, or use them in a hot-dog roll, with some lettuce and the dip as a dressing to make a little portable lunch.

Calamari garlic lemon

What you need:

The Squid and Batter:

• 300g (About 12 ounces)  of squid – cut into rings or slices ( you can purchase flash frozen rings – that is what I used
• ¾ cup of corn flour – I used cornmeal
• 1 tablespoon of oregano
• 1 tablespoon of paprika
• ¼ teaspoon of salt
• ½ teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional – I did a fine grind of these with a mortar and pestle to better distribute the spice)
• Vegetable oil for frying – I always use canola oil in the wok – about 1/2 cup.

The Dip
• 1 cup of Greek-style yoghurt – I drain mine in a colander lined with cheesecloth for about a hour
• 2 – 3 cloves of garlic – crushed and chopped (use the flat of your knife to bring garlic almost to paste consistency)
• ½ teaspoon of oregano – also crumbled in the mortar and pestle
• ½ teaspoon of paprika
• Sprinkling of chilli flakes – optional
• Zest of half a lemon – grated
• Salt and pepper to taste

Now – I tend to like a fully integrated dip and batter – so I use the mortar and pestle to finely grind my herbs, and use the flat of my knife to bring the garlic to a near paste consistency.  If you use a microplane to zest your lemon, you will find that the little shreds of zest are perfectly suited to integrate into the dip.

Start with making the dip – mix together the yoghurt, garlic, oregano, paprika, lemon zest and chili flakes.  Stir well to integrate, and taste for seasoning.  Add in a bit of salt and pepper, mix well and cover.  At this point I set the dip aside.

I used a wok to fry these, with a simple strainer basket spoon to remove them and shake off excess oil.  Since not everyone can easily find corn flour, cornmeal or rice flour substitute beautifully.  Cornmeal gives a nice crunch with a flavor that helps to compliment the squid, rice flour adds a bit of the tempura crunch and lightness.

Heat oil (I used 1/2 cup) in a wok or small frying pan.  When the oil reaches 350º, fry the calamari in small batches (8 – 10 pieces) until golden brown and crunchy. This will take 3 minutes or so.  Remove from oil, shake off excess and plate. While the recipe is meant to serve 4, that is only if you aren’t eating them as they come out of the fryer!  A great snack.

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