Recipe: Crispy calamari and sunshine salad tacos

Mexico’s hot spicy food is a perfect match for summer entertaining in SA

Mexico’s hot spicy food is a perfect match for summer entertaining in SA.

Make the most of the Eastern Cape’s gloriously flavourful calamari with this recipe for crispy squid and sunshine salad tacos.

It is from the new cookery book Mexicana! by Esther Clark and serves four to six.

This British writer brings the spirit of Mexico into your home with more than 70 tasty taco and moreish nacho recipes to feed your fiesta cravings.

Crispy calamari and sunshine salad tacos


  • 500g calamari, gutted and cleaned
  • 1.5 litres sunflower oil
  • 5 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 12 x 15cm soft corn tortillas
  • 5 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise mixed with 1 tbsp chipotle chilli paste

For the salad

  • Leaves of one large bunch of parsley, torn
  • Leaves of 1 small bunch of coriander, torn
  • 3-4 spring onions, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 small oranges
  • 2 large handfuls of pomegranate seeds
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine salt and black pepper


Cut the squid into 1cm rounds, keeping any tentacles in nice whole pieces. Set aside for later.

Prepare the salad by tossing together the torn herb leaves and the sliced shallot. Use a serrated knife to cut the skin and pith from the oranges, then break into segments and toss with the herbs and pomegranate seeds.

In a small jug or bowl, whisk together the lime juice and olive oil, along with a good pinch of salt and pepper, and set aside to toss through the salad later.

Heat the sunflower oil in a deep-fryer, or in a large, deep heavy-based saucepan filled no more than two-thirds full, until the oil reaches 190-200°C on a cooking thermometer.

Alternatively, drop in a small cube of bread to check that the oil is hot enough; it should turn golden brown within 10 seconds.

Pat the prepared squid dry with kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture. In a bowl, mix together the flour, chilli powder and paprika with two teaspoons of salt and a quarter-teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.

?In small batches, toss the squid in the flour mixture and deep-fry for one to two minutes per batch or until light golden-brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with a little more salt to keep them crisp.

Warm the tortillas through in a small dry frying pan over a medium-high heat, keeping a stack warm, wrapped in foil, in a low oven while you heat the rest.

Toss the salad in the lime dressing, then spread the chipotle aioli over the warmed tortillas, top with the crispy squid and a good handful of the fruity citrus salad.

  • Mexicana! by Esther Clark is published by HarperCollins.


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