Kung Pao Calamari

  • Yield : five 8-ounce servings
  • Prep Time : 45m
  • Cook Time : 5m
  • Ready In : 50m
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  • 1 1/2 cups plum sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons roasted chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Pinch black sesame seeds
  • Pinch white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • Flour Dredge (or substitute your favorite store-bought fish fry mix):
  • 2 pounds corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds cleaned calamari (fresh or frozen), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 15 ounces sliced hot pepper rings, drained
  • 5 to 10 ounces dry roasted peanuts
  • 5 ounces chopped scallions
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish, optional


Step 1

For the kung pao sauce: Mix the plum sauce, 1/2 cup water, rice wine vinegar, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, both sesame seeds and the cilantro in a large bowl and set aside. 

Step 2

For the flour dredge: In a separate large bowl, combine the corn flour, baking powder, and some salt and pepper. 

Step 3

For the calamari: Prepare a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. Drop the drained but still wet calamari into the flour dredge and work it well to ensure an even coating. Do not let it get clumpy. From the dredge carefully drop the flour coated rings into the hot oil. Fry the rings for 1 minute, and add the hot pepper rings to the oil. Let fry until the calamari is golden brown, about 30 seconds longer. Drain the calamari and peppers well. 

Step 4

To plate, drizzle 3 to 4 ounces of the kung pao sauce over each 8 ounce serving of calamari and hot peppers. Sprinkle the dry roasted peanuts and scallions over each dish. Garnish with lemon wedges if desired and serve. 

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