Crispy, tender calamari tacos with sweet chili slaw, creamy avocado chunks, fresh lime juice, and fresh cilantro on warm and toasty corn tortillas.
For the calamari
- 1 pound calamari (tubes and tentacles), cleaned and thawed
- 2 egg whites, whipped until foamy
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup corn meal (optional)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
Corn or flour tortillas, lime wedges, hot sauce, extra cilantro, and avocado for serving
Canola or vegetable oil for frying, about an inch+ deep
For the slaw
- 1 small head (about 4 cups) cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeños, diced small
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (stems included)
- 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1/2 cup Japanese mayo (Kewpie), regular mayo is fine
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon crushed red chili flakes
- generous pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
Make the slaw first. Place cabbage, carrots, red onion, jalapeños, and cilantro in a large bowl. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, combine the sweet chili sauce, Japanese mayo, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and whisk to combine. Adjust consistency if needed by adding a little more rice wine vinegar. It should be creamy and pourable, but not watery. Pour the sauce on the veggies, and toss to combine. It’ll start to wilt within minutes, but still stay crisp. Cover with plastic wrap and keep it cold until ready to use.
Heat your oven to 200-degrees, or the “Warm” setting.
Vigorously whisk two large egg whites until foamy. Pour the egg white foam all over the cleaned and well-drained calamari, tossing to evenly coat. Working in batches, toss a few pieces of the squid in the flour mix, and make sure each piece is coated evenly. When finished, place the coated pieces on a large plate or baking sheet.
Keep the squid cold in the fridge while you heat your oil to 375-degrees (use a wide shallow pot or skillet).
While the oil is heating, warm your tortillas over a medium-low flame, or in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until slightly blistered and charred around the edges. Keep the tortillas warm by tightly wrapping them in aluminum foil, and placing them in the warm oven until ready to use.
When oil has reached proper frying temperature, gently fry 10-15 pieces of squid at a time for about 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Drain on a baking rack or paper towels, and immediately sprinkle a little sea salt on them while they’re still hot. Make sure your oil stays at 375-degrees, and continue frying the rest of your squid in batches.
Remove the tortillas from the oven, and the slaw from your fridge. Immediately build your tacos, placing a generous amount of hot crispy squid on the bottom, the slaw on top, and creamy avocado chunks. Feel free to add extra cilantro, and be sure to douse them with lots of fresh lime juice and hot sauce.
If using flour tortillas, be sure to wrap them in a damp paper towel prior to wrapping them in foil to keep them from drying out. Feel free to use homemade tortillas.
Keywords: tacos, appetizers, calamari, calamari tacos, squid