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Calamari Frites


  • 450g/1lb squid tubes

  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

  • deep-fried parsley sprigs, to garnish (optional)

  • limes, to serve

  • For the palm hearts and papaya dressing

  • 3 papayas

  • 100ml/3½fl oz olive oil

  • 1 can (350-400g/12-14oz) of palm hearts

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 level tsp sugar

  • 1 lemon, juice only

  • salt

  • For the Batter

  • 6 eggs, separated

  • 225g/8oz plain white flour

  • 150ml/¼ pint whole milk

  • a wine glassful of ice


  • 1.

    First prepare the palm heart and papaya dressing. Peel the papayas, cut them in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the papaya flesh into small cubes.

  • 2.

    Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the papaya. Heat through gently for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.

  • 3.

    Slice the palm hearts as thinly as you can and mix in the papaya. Add the garlic, chopped chilli, sugar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mix together well and pour into a serving jug.

  • 4.

    Now make the batter (you need two spotlessly clean mixing bowls and a whisk). Wrap a tea towel around the base of a mixing bowl with the eggs in it and start to beat the yolks. As you are whisking, sift 100g/4oz of the flour into the yolks to form a paste. Try to get as much air into the batter mix as you can.

  • 5.

    Add the milk and the ice cubes, then continue whisking and sift in half of the remaining flour.

  • 6.

    Using a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites until extremely fluffy (shaving foam consistency). Pour the egg whites over the batter and very gently fold them in, only 3-4 times.

  • 7.

    Ensure your squid are properly cleaned and slice the tubes into rings. Lay out as many as you can on a large tray, dust with the remaining flour and season with salt. Clear both surfaces and ensure that this task has your whole concentration for the next 10 minutes.

  • 8.

    Heat the oil on a moderate heat until the surface of the oil is shimmering (CAUTION Hot oil can be very dangerous. Do not leave unattended). Now gently immerse the calamari in the batter 5-10 at a time. Take out, drain off any excess batter and immediately drop into the hot oil, one by one, and cook for about 4-5 minutes until nicely coloured. Using a fork, pick out each ring and place it on kitchen paper to drain.

  • 9.

    Repeat until all of the calamari is cooked.

  • 10.

    To serve, pile up the calamari and pour over the dressing, with a squeeze of lime.

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