Easy and Delicious Crispy Baby Squid Recipe

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Crispy baby squid is one of the most popular appetizers here in the Philippines. It’s absolutely delicious whether you’re enjoying it at a restaurant or making it at home. I’ve also discovered that they can be kid-friendly. As someone living in the province of Marinduque, I’m lucky to have access to fresh seafood like squid at our local markets. While it can be difficult sometimes not having access to the wide variety of ingredients available in big cities, the trade-off is having seafood so fresh it was probably swimming just that morning!

Squid is low in calories and packed with protein, making it a healthier alternative to fried chicken or pork rinds. Baby squid refers to very young squid that are quite tender. They’re perfect for quick cooking methods like frying that result in a light, crispy texture. The batter and cooking process seals in the natural juices and flavors of the squid.

You may be also be surprised to see calamari on a kid-friendly food list but it has become a hit in our home. These mini squid crispies are delicious when lightly breaded and pan-fried. Beyond taste, they also provide plenty of nutrients like protein, omega-3s, selenium and phosphorus. All of these benefits make them a better after dinner snack than processed foods or desserts.

Prepping the squid is simple. Rinse the tentacles and rings under water, then pat dry. Toss them in seasoned breadcrumbs and pan fry for a few minutes until crispy.

My kids now ask for “squid nuggets” on a regular basis. The novelty factor got them interested at first but they keep coming back for more. Seeing the happy looks on their faces as they enjoy this food motivates me to add it to our menu more often.

While squid may seem like an unusual choice, don’t dismiss it before trying. My picky eaters were pleasantly surprised by how much they liked these crispy snacks. Keep an open mind and experiment with new ingredients you might not have considered before. You never know what could become a hit!

How to make crispy baby squid

I’m going to walk you through the easiest way to make crispy baby squid at home, even if you’ve never cooked with squid before. All you need is:

  • 500 grams baby squid, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying

To clean the squid, rinse well under cold water. Gently pull the head away from the body to remove the guts and internal quill. Discard the eyes, innards, and guts. Rinse again and pat dry with paper towels making sure that the squid is thoroughly dry.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, garlic powder, and black pepper. Crack the egg into a separate small bowl and beat lightly with a fork.

Set up your frying station by having the flour mixture, beaten egg and a plate for the breaded squid ready to go. Working in batches if needed, toss a few pieces of squid in the flour to lightly coat. Shake off any excess, then dip the squid in the egg wash, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. Toss the squid in the flour again to fully coat.

In a large skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high heat. To test if the oil is ready, toss in a small piece of squid – it should sizzle right away. Working in batches as not to overcrowd the pan, carefully add the breaded squid rings. Fry for 1-2 minutes per side, until exterior is light golden brown and crispy.

Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and add some salt and pepper. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce. The traditional “sawsawan” is vinegar with garlic and salt. I also love using a garlic aioli or a spicy chili mayo. You can also enjoy them as a light Filipino appetizer (pulutan) on their own.

The key things to remember for crispy results are:

  • Use small, young squid if possible for tenderness
  • Dry squid pieces thoroughly before breading
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan for even crisping
  • Fry in moderate heat oil for 1-2 minutes per side

If you want to take it up a notch, try adding different flavorings to the breading like Cajun or Southwestern spice mixes. You can also serve the crispy squid for tacos or on top of salads for some extra protein crunch. They’re a great no-fuss appetizer or snack to enjoy while relaxing at home.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter below to get more easy Filipino recipes and cooking tips straight to your inbox. Happy cooking!

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