Ika-Furai (Calamari)

Posted by on October 14, 2010 in Appetizers, Blog, Fish & Seafood, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Travel & Local Adventures | 10 comments

 

It’s rare when I start writing a post and I have absolutely nothing to write about. My mind is blank. Yes, I could go strait to talking about the food, but that would be a little like my last post – a little boring, no?

Since squid, or ika in Japanese, is from the sea, I decided share a few photos from summer related to, you guessed it, the sea! I’ve been fortunate to have always lived within two to four miles from the ocean, and growing up, the ocean played a large role in my life.

As a baby, my Mom and my Auntie took me to the beach. When I was in elementary school, I celebrated one of my birthdays under the protection of a parachuette tent in the Fall. I remember it was pretty darn cold but I loved celebrating my birthday at the beach. (Us Fall/Winter babies rarely get to enjoy summer activities for our birthday!)

As I got older, I enjoyed being an absolute beach bum during summer vacation. This was during middle school through high school. My girlfriends and I would take the Number 8 bus to and from our homes to the beach, or our parents would drop us off and pick us up. We’d be there from 11 AM until 5 PM, almost five days a week. Yep, the beach was THE place to hang out. To be exact, station #25 at Santa Monica beach. That was our regular hangout. That’s where the Westsiders could always be found.

Seriously, I hope I used a lot of sunscreen back then (probably not) so that I don’t look like a wrinkled old raisin in my old age!

Well, given today’s post is about seafood, I thought I’d share some of our seaside adventures from the summer. AND, I threw in a picture or two of me at the beach when I was a baby. There’s a big resemblance between Bebe E and my baby pictures when I was her age. 

 

The two retro-colored photos are of my mom and I at the beach. I was 7 months old.

Let’s talk about ika. I used to watch my mom clean fresh squid. She would remove the head and some of the stuff I can only refer to as, “gunk”, the spine (or something that resembles a spine) and finally she would peel off it’s skin. So much hard work just to eat a little bit of seafood!

One time, I bought ika and tried to clean it. It took me forever, and I couldn’t get all of the skin off, so Bebe Dada and I ended up peeling off the skin after I cooked it, before we could eat it. Despite the fact that it tasted good, it was such a hassle!

That’s when my Uncle Yoshi gifted us a large bag of frozen ika rings. He works for a seafood distributor and he designed the package. They sell this at our local Korean market.

When it comes to ika, a) I will only eat ika sashimi style if it comes packaged and pre-sliced for sashimi at the Japanese supermarket or if I’m at a sushi bar; b) I will never try to clean my own ika again; c) my Mom is amazing for being able to clean ika and for doing this sooo many times throughout my life so that we could eat fresh ika; d) frozen ika rings aren’t half bad for folks like me that don’t want to clean ika, in fact, frozen ika rings are pretty darn tasty and not as rubbery as I thought they would be!

Ika-Furai, literally means “fried squid” in Japanese, but is also knows as ika tempura or ika-ten for short. The Japanese word, “furai” is a Japanese play on the English word, “fried”. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure-out the Japanese language.

Ika-Furai (Calamari)

  • 1 16-oz bag frozen calamari rings
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 flour
  • 1/4 potato starch
  • ice cold water
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Shichimi togarashi (Japanese red chili pepper), optional
  • Aonori (Japanese green seaweed flakes), optional
  • Salt

1) Make batter. In a large measuring cup (I use my 4-cup measuring cup) crack egg, then add ice cold water so that the egg and water combined, equals 1 cup. In a medium bowl, combine flour and potato starch (corn starch may be substituted) and egg/water mixture and mix well. Add a few shakes of shichimi togarashi (and aonori – optional)to the tempura batter and mix well.

2) Rather than dipping each calamari ring into the batter one at a time, I placed several rings at once in the batter and quickly transferred them to hot oil and fried them until they were golden. Turn calamari rings over once in the oil. These don’t take long to cook and might only be in the oil for about 1 minute. Allow the ika-furai to drain on paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt.

This was a very simple appetizer to prepare, given the squid was pre-cleaned, cut and ready to use. It was absolutely delicious and Bebe Dada suggested that we have this again sometime. My only issue is that I don’t like to cook fried foods, or for our family to eat them often.

I must confess, however, that it’s been months since we had ika-furai. This is one of my posts featuring a dish that I made months ago! I know.. I know… Will I ever catch-up on my posts?!? I highly doubt it… For my next post, I promise to share something more recent that I made this week.

Until then, be safe, be kind  to others and have a wonderful week!

Judy | bebe mama

 

Ika-Furai (Calamari)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 16-oz bag frozen calamari rings
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • ice cold water
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Shichimi togarashi (Japanese red chili pepper), optional
  • Aonori (Japanese green seaweed flakes), optional
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Make batter. In a large measuring cup (I use my 4-cup measuring cup) crack egg, then add ice cold water so that the egg and water combined, equals 1 cup.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and potato starch (corn starch may be substituted) and egg/water mixture and mix well. Add a few shakes of shichimi togarashi (and aonori - optional) to the tempura batter and mix well.
  3. Rather than dipping each calamari ring into the batter one at a time, I placed several rings at once in the batter and quickly transferred them to hot oil and fried them until they were golden.
  4. Turn calamari rings over once in the oil. These don't take long to cook and might only be in the oil for about 1 minute.
  5. Allow the ika-furai to drain on paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt.

10 Comments

  1. avatar

    Judy, when I was in junior high, my girlfriends and I called ourselves “Westsiders”, too. How funny. I lived inland but the beach was never a long drive away and I’ve always loved it like you. And yes, being a December baby, I know what you mean about the lack of summer b-day celebrations. Thank goodness I enjoy the beach warm or cold, rain or shine. I love the pictures–Bebe E is going to grow up loving the ocean just like you.

    As for the calamari–it’s one of my favorites. I never tire of it. I’ve actually been meaning to make it at home as a component of a dish but I’ve been afraid of overcooking it. Thanks for the tips!

    • avatar

      What a coincidence about the “westsiders” and our year-end birthdays. :)

  2. avatar

    yum…i love this…they also sell ika in slabs at marukai and that is what we usually get.
    the pic of you and your mom look just like you and bebe! cute!

    • avatar

      Ah, I should look for ika slabs next time I’m there. I just went to the Korean market to look for more of the precut, frozen rings but they didn’t have them!

      Yes, my baby pictures look just like her. :)

  3. avatar

    WOW! That looks yummy! Love the picture collage of you and Bebe E and you & your mom! Kawaii~~~

    Yea, I have never cleaned squid, so I give you props for at least trying it once! LOL I remember my mom cleaning squid when I was growing up and yea, didn’t look like fun to do and really gooey. Yuck!!

    I will see what I can find in the frozen section for frozen ika and maybe have some “ika furai” this weekend!

    • avatar

      Thanks, it was fun making the collage. :)

      Don’t do it! Definitely buy pre-cleaned squid… totally worth it!

  4. avatar

    These look so good…I can’t believe you tried cleaning squid, that is most definitely at the top of my purchase pre-cleaned :)

    • avatar

      Same… I can’t believe it I cleaned it either! Never doing that again! :)

  5. avatar

    Judy – I love your optional ingredients in this recipe. I am sure they give a totally different level of flavor to fried calamari. Your picture collage looks wonderful. Baby E is so cute!

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