Crispy Calamari with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Starters | March 21, 2016 | By

In my family, we are serious calamari lovers — prepared any which way! Of course, you can’t go wrong with crispy, fried calamari. A lot of folks won’t even touch the tentacles, which is why you won’t see them in this recipe. The cornstarch makes these sea creatures light and crispy, and the aioli dipping sauce gives it a really nice kick. Make these as a starter or on top of your favorite salad!

Crispy Calamari with Spicy Dipping Sauce
Recipe type: 6
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • Cornstarch for dredging
  • 1 pound bag squid rings, defrosted
  • Chopped, fresh cilantro
  • Lemon wedges
Dipping Sauce
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  1. In a large, heavy wok or saucepan, heat the oil until very hot. Put cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Mix in Chinese 5-spice, cayenne pepper, and salt. Put the eggs in another shallow bowl. Dip the calamari into the eggs, but don't oversaturate. Then dredge calamari in the cornstarch mixture and shake off excess. Working in batches, add to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and squeeze of lemons.
  2. To make the Dipping Sauce: Combine together the mayonnaise, sambal oelek, and chili sauce. Serve along side the calamari.
  3. Notes: Sambal oelek can be found at specialty markets and some local grocery stores. You can substitute this with sriracha sauce.
  4. Adapted from: Wendy Leon/


Rice Cooker Coconut Rice

Sides | March 14, 2016 | By

I swear, I could eat this coconut rice as an entire meal! It’s that freakin’ good! The flavors are outstanding, especially with the addition of the coconut flakes. And the lemongrass is just subtle enough. Serve it on the side with your favorite protein dish, like ANYTHING! It’s so easy to make with a rice cooker, but you can also prepare this as you would any rice on the stovetop. Yum, yum, and YUM!

Rice Cooker Coconut Rice
Recipe type: 6
  • 2 cups jasmine white rice
  • 2½ cups good-quality coconut milk
  • 1½ cups coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into two-inch pieces
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Top with toasted coconut flakes for garnish if desired.
  1. Place rice, coconut milk, coconut water, salt, and pieces of lemongrass in a rice cooker. Cover tightly with lid and let cook until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice and cooker turns off. Add in coconut flakes and stir. Cover and let sit on warm setting for 10-15 minutes. When ready to serve, discard lemongrass sticks and fluff rice with a fork. Garnish with more toasted coconut.
  2. To Toast Coconut: Place 3 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut in a frying pan over medium-high heat and "dry fry" until light golden brown.
Brown rice will not work for this recipe. Plain water can be substituted for coconut water.