Tempura Squid (photo)

Tempura Squid

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  • Prep: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Cook: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 as an appetizer.

The squid rings cut from the body are easier to fry than the tentacles, which tend to clump. If you have both, fry the rings first, then the tentacles. Do not double the recipe. The batter needs to be kept cold and used immediately after making. So it's better to work with small batches. If you want to make more, mix a second batch together after you've gone through the first batch.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cleaned squid
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup ice cold sparkling water (the colder the better)
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 3/4 cup rice or regular flour
  • Canola oil or peanut oil for frying (high smoke point vegetable oil)

Special equipment recommended:

  • A deep fryer

Method

1 Slice the squid tubes into rings about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch wide. Leave the tentacles whole.

2 This recipe was designed for a deep-fryer, but you can also fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot (keep a lid nearby, for safety reasons) halfway with oil, about 3 inches deep. Heat the oil to 360-370°F.

3 While the oil is heating, mix all the dry ingredients together well.

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4 Once the oil has reached 360°F, take the sparkling water out of the refrigerator and mix it with the egg yolk. Immediately mix it in with the dry ingredients. Mix quickly. Do not worry if there are clumps or lumps. Over-mixing may cause the batter to become chewy when cooked.

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5 Working in small batches at a time (about 8 pieces), dip the squid pieces in the batter. Pick them up one by one and gently put them in the hot oil. (Note if your fingers are coated with the batter, it will help protect them from splatter.) When the squid pieces are in the oil, use a chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon to dislodge any squid pieces that may have become stuck from the bottom of the pot or fryer. Fry for 45 seconds to 1 minute, and remove to paper towels to drain. Note that when done, they will NOT be golden brown, but more of a pale yellow or tan. Repeat with the rest of the squid. Working in batches will help keep the oil temperature from falling too far while you are frying the squid.

Serve immediately with lime or lemon wedges, soy sauce, ponzu sauce, Tabasco or another hot sauce.

Once the cooking oil has completely cooled (after about 2 hours), strain it through a paper towel-lined sieve, and save it to reuse the next time you want to deep fry seafood.