Crunchy Fried Squid Salad

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This variation on calamari is my new favorite way of preparing squid. The rice flour makes the batter extra crisp and slightly puffy. The spicy sour dressing accentuates the powerful salad. Everything is crispy, crunchy, and just perfect.

4 servings

Cooking Methodfrying



Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe Courseappetizer


Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturecrisp, crunchy, fruity, nutty, umami

Type of Dishwarm salad


  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil, corn oil, or other neutral oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • ½ small carrot, diced
  • ½ small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • ½ fresh red Thai chile, stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • 2½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup rice or all-purpose flour
  • Corn or vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 10 ounces baby squid bodies cut into ½-inch rings crosswise and tentacles separated
  • Salt
  • 1 small ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • ½ cup cashews, toasted and slightly crushed
  • One 1-inch piece young ginger, minced
  • 4 cups frisee, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted


To make the dressing: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the shallots, carrot, pepper, and chile. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the lime juice, vinegar, salt, and sugars. Turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is syrupy, about 30 minutes. Almost all of the liquid will have evaporated. Transfer the mixture to a blender. With the blender running, add the chili oil. Blend until completely smooth. Transfer to a shallow dish to cool and set aside.

To make the salad: Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the rice flour and ¼ cup water and stir; then add another ¼ cup water and stir. You should have a smooth, lump-free, medium-thick consistency of batter that runs from the spoon but is not completely liquid. Add more water if needed, and stir.

Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a heavy, deep saucepan and heat to 375°F. Dip the squid in the batter and transfer to the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Cook until golden brown and really crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Put the papaya, water chestnuts, cashews, ginger, and frisée in a large mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and toss with the reserved dressing. When everything is well coated, transfer to the serving plates. Top with the fried squid, sprinkle on the sesame seeds, and serve immediately.



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