Five-Spice Calamari With Dipping Sauce
- DIPPING SAUCE:
- 2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla) (available at Asian markets)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 15 ounces cleaned calamari tentacles left
- whole, bodies cut into 1/2" rings
For dipping sauce: Combine all ingredients except mayonnaise in processor. Blend well. Transfer to bowl. Stir in mayonnaise. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Whisk before serving.)
For calamari: Pour oil to depth of 3 inches in heavy large pot. Heat to 350 degrees. Whisk next 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Pour buttermilk into another large bowl. Add calamari to buttermilk.
Working in batches, remove calamari; dredge in flour mixture. Fry until just crisp, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Serve warm with sauce.
This recipe yields 4 to 6 appetizer servings.