Crispy Fried Calamari-Kalamarakia Tiganita is a prized appetizer on the Greek table. Our fried calamari will excite and wow everyone with a delicious coating of three different flours, ground mustard, and smoked paprika.

If you love our Crispy Fried Calamari-Kalamarakia Tiganita, you will also love these Cod Fish Cakes, Horta-Boiled Greens, Skordalia dip or Taramosalata!

A plate with crispy fried calamari-kalamarakia with lemon wedges and parsley leaves, on a table next to a bowl with fries and a piece of bread. Overhead shot.

What is calamari?

  • Calamari is the culinary name for squid. It is a delicacy enjoyed in many cuisines worldwide. In Greek cuisine, they are often fried and served tapas style with lemon wedges, tzatziki sauce, and other appetizers. There are dishes with squid in a sauce, orzo giouvetsi, or sautee.
  • This most popular and delicious mollusk is best from October to May. Its color is pale to white-yellow, with dense red-gray spots. If the flesh under the skin (which peels off easily with a fingernail) is white, then the squid is fresh. If it is pink, it is 2-3 days old. If it’s red, avoid it and look elsewhere for fresher options.
  • Where to buy calamari? You’ll be pleased to know it’s recently become much more widely available. Many grocery stores and fish markets now stock it, and it’s often available pre-cleaned in the freezer section. If you’re hesitant to clean it yourself, don’t hesitate to ask the fishmonger for assistance.
  • Squid freezes very well. Clean and freeze fresh squid in zip-top freezer bags. If the squid stays solidly frozen, it can last for several months. If you have cooked squid, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. However, our fried calamari should be consumed immediately for the best flavor and texture.
Close up of a plate with fried crispy calamari-kalamarakia on a cloth napkin

Why this recipe sings

  • Greeks call this dish kalamarakia tiganita, aka crispy fried calamari.
  • Golden crispy fried calamarakia is an easy and delicious Greek appetizer.
  • Our recipe has a wonderful coating of all-purpose flour, corn flour, smoked paprika, mustard, and lemon zest, ensuring maximum flavor.

Here is what you need

A bowl with squid, and bowls with flour, corn flour, semolina, sea salt a container of smoked paprika and two lemons on a table, overhead shot.
  • Calamari. Every grocery store has bags of cleaned and sliced calamari. If you opt for fresh calamari, ask your fishmonger to clean and slice it.
  • All-purpose, corn, and semolina flour. The combination of three flours ensures crispy coating success.
  • Mustard powder and smoked paprika.
  • Lemons. I use some zest in the coating mix. Kalamarakia are always served with lemon wedges.
  • Sea salt.
  • Sunflower oil. Not shown. For frying.

How to make kalamarakia tiganita

Cleaned squid in a collander.
Add the calamari in a colander. Pat dry with paper towels.
Sliced calamari coated with flour in a bowl.
Add all-purpose flour, corn flour, semolina, a bit of lemon zest, mustard powder, and paprika in a bowl. Season with sea salt and mix well with a whisk or a spoon.
Add the calamari and toss to coat well all over.
Calamari frying in oli.
Place a deep skillet on high heat and let it heat up. When the skillet is heated up well, add the sunflower oil. When the oil reaches 175-185°C / 350-365°F, carefully add the calamari. Give a little shake to the pieces to discard the extra coating.
Fry the calamari until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes.

Remove the calamari from the oil and arrange it on a paper towel-lined plate or the wire rack. 

A plate with crispy fried calamari-kalamarakia with lemon wedges and parsley leaves, on a table. Overhead shot.

Serve the fried calamari immediately with lemon wedges around the table.

INSIDER TIP. Serve with lemon wedges on the side. Avoid drizzling lemon juice when the kalamarakia are on the serving platter. Lemon suits this dish very much but will dampen and make the coating soft instead of crispy. Allow your guests to squeeze lemon juice at will when the calamari is served on their plates. 

How to serve kalamarakia tiganita

On the Greek tables kalamarakia are always paired with crispy fries, tzatziki, a peasant salad, fried eggplant and zucchini, fava dip and shrimp saganaki. Other dishes to consider are our delicious cauliflower broccoli salad, baked feta and cod fish cakes.

Check out my Greek pantry staples 

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A plate with crispy fried calamari-kalamarakia with lemon wedges and parsley leaves, on a table next to a bowl with fries and a piece of bread. Overhead shot.

Crispy Fried Calamari-Kalamarakia Tiganita

by Jenny | The Greek Foodie
Crispy fried Calamari-Kalamarakia Tiganita is a delicious appetizer on the Greek table. Our calamari has a coating of three flours, mustard, and smoked paprika.
5 from 11 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Greek
Servings 4
Calories 430 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup corn flour
  • cup semolina flour
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 lb calamari cleaned and sliced
  • sunflower oil for frying

Instructions
 

  • Add the calamari in a colander. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Add all-purpose flour, corn flour, semolina, a bit of lemon zest, mustard powder, and paprika in a bowl. Season with sea salt and mix well with a whisk or a spoon.
  • Add the calamari and toss to coat well all over.
  • Place a deep skillet on high heat and let it heat up. When the skillet is heated up well, add the sunflower oil. When the oil reaches 175-185°C / 350-365°F carefully add some of the calamari to the oil.
    Give a little shake to the calamari pieces to discard extra coating.
    Fry the calamari until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes. Don't exceed this frying time; the calamari will become hard and very chewy.
    Remove the calamari from the oil and arrange it on a paper towel-lined plate of wire rack. 
  • Serve immediately with lemon wedges around the table.

Notes

  • Calamari. Every grocery store has bags of cleaned and sliced calamari. If you opt for fresh calamari, ask your fishmonger to clean and slice it.
  • Don’t over-fry. The calamari will become very hard and difficult to eat.
  • Serve with lemon wedges on the side. Avoid drizzling lemon juice when the kalamarakia are on the serving platter. Lemon suits this dish very much but will dampen and make the coating soft instead of crispy. Allow your guests to squeeze lemon juice at will when the calamari is served on their plates. 
 
Nutritional Info – Please remember that the nutritional information provided is only estimated and can vary based on the products used.

Nutrition

Calories: 430kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 40gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 528mgSodium: 685mgPotassium: 661mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 938IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 4mg
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Crispy Fried Calamari-Kalamarakia Tiganita

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