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Kalamaria or Thrapsala Tiganita or Gemista (Fried or Stuffed Kalamari)

Kalamaria or Thrapsala Tiganita or Gemista (Fried or Stuffed Kalamari)

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Kalamaria (pr. kah-lah-MAHR-ghia), is a very popular dish in Greece and Cyprus, especially during Lent when seafood is allowed to be eaten.

Although we can eat all sorts of delicious food during Lent I find it difficult to cook dried legumes or just vegetables on Sundays as Ι have always connected  Sunday cooking with meat dishes.

Farmers market fish image

During the past weeks I have made kalamari a couple of times, both fried and stuffed, so today I will be posting two recipes.

Kalamari (squid) image

Although I have used fresh kalamari, frozen works just as well but you’ll have to thaw it overnight. If you get fresh kalamari, which we usually do in Greece, you will have to clean it first.  The same recipe can be made with “thrapsala” which is the cheaper shortfin squid (Illex coindetti).

Fried Kalamari or Calamari (squid) plural kalamaria is a very popular dish, served in all Greek restaurants in Greece and abroad.

I remember when I was younger the first times I attempted to make them, they turned out rubbery not to mention the mess in the kitchen when they would burst and oil was scattered everywhere in the kitchen.

Thank God those days were over when my sister, who owned a restaurant and now her son has three restaurants in Limassol, visited me in Greece many years ago and explained to me how.

In order to cook fried kalamari at home and make it just like the ones you get in a restaurant, there are a few things you should know.

First of all you have to let them drain and then cut the body into same size of rings, around 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick.

Then coat them in flour.  Use all-purpose flour in which add some salt and if you like some pepper.

coating kalamari in flour image

The secret for making kalamari tender is to fry them in plenty of hot oil very quickly.

If you have a deep fryer that would make things very easy, otherwise use a deep frying pan in which add about 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) oil.

You can fry them in any vegetable oil but I prefer olive oil as it adds to the flavour considerably and it is much healthier.  Olive oil is quite expensive so use a small deep frying pan and fry them in batches.

Frying kalamari image

 

Kalamaria Tiganita (Fried Kalamari)

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time:  5 minutes

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium kalamari (squid)
  • 2 cups (depending on size of your frying pan) olive oil, for frying
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Lemon Juice

Directions:

  1. Clean and wash the kalamari and drain well for a few hours before frying.
  2. Cut the body into 2 cm (3/4 inch) rings leaving the tentacles intact.
  3. Mix the salt in the flour and coat the kalamari.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a small deep frying pan and fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove on kitchen paper to drain oil before serving.
  6. Serve with lemon juice

Fried kalamari image

You will find the recipe in my cookbook “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!”

 

Stuffed Kalamaria are also one of the dishes I prepare during Lent and although I posted this recipe last year, a lot have changed in the way I cook, so I have changed that recipe by adding more ingredients such as mushrooms and fresh herbs.   It tasted heavenly.

stuffed kalamari squid image

Kalamaria Gemista (Stuffed Squid) 

 Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 55 minutes

Serves:  4

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium or 4 large squid
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Carolina or other starchy rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano and savory or 1 sprig fresh oregano or savory (optional)
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 ½ cups puréed fresh tomatoes (or 1 cup concentrated tomato juice + ½ cup water), divided
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Clean and wash the squid as follows: Remove the head with the tentacles from the body and with a sharp knife remove the ink sac, eyes and mouth and discard them.  See instructions here.
  2. From the body, remove the cuttlebone and anything inside.
  3. Rinse very well in water.
  4. Cut the tentacles and fins in small pieces.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté the mushrooms.  Remove to a platter.
  6. Add half of the remaining olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion until translucent.
  7. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant.
  8. Add the tentacles and fins and sauté for a few minutes.
  9. Add the rice and mix it for a few minutes and add the mushrooms.
  10. Add the wine and keep mixing until the alcohol evaporates.
  11. Add the raisins as well as 1/3 of the tomato and water and mix.
  12. Season with salt and pepper, oregano and savory.
  13. Turn off the heat and mix in the parsley and set aside to cool, until the liquid is absorbed.
  14. Stuff the squid by 2/3 and secure the opening with a toothpick.
  15. Place in a baking tin or Pyrex, season with more salt and pepper and add the remaining tomato, water and olive oil. Any leftover filling can be added in the baking tin.
  16. Preheat the oven to 180oC/ 350oF (or 160oC / 325o F, if using a convection oven) and bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour (depending on their size), turning half way through.

 

 

Stuffed calamari image

Kalamaria or Thrapsala Tiganita or Gemista (Fried or Stuffed Kalamari)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Kalamaria (pr. kah-lah-MAHR-ghia), is a very popular dish in Greece and Cyprus, especially during Lent when seafood is allowed to be eaten.

Ingredients

  • 8 medium or 4 large squid
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Carolina or other starchy rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano and savory or 1 sprig fresh oregano or savory (optional)
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 ½ cups puréed fresh tomatoes (or 1 cup concentrated tomato juice + ½ cup water), divided
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Clean and wash the squid as follows: Remove the head with the tentacles from the body and with a sharp knife remove the ink sac, eyes and mouth and discard them.  See instructions here.
  2. From the body, remove the cuttlebone and anything inside.
  3. Rinse very well in water.
  4. Cut the tentacles and fins in small pieces.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté the mushrooms.  Remove to a platter.
  6. Add half of the remaining olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion until translucent.
  7. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant. 
  8. Add the tentacles and fins and sauté for a few minutes.
  9. Add the rice and mix it for a few minutes and add the mushrooms.
  10. Add the wine and keep mixing until the alcohol evaporates.
  11. Add the raisins as well as 1/3 of the tomato and water and mix.
  12. Season with salt and pepper, oregano and savory.
  13. Turn off the heat and mix in the parsley and set aside to cool, until the liquid is absorbed.
  14. Stuff the squid by 2/3 and secure the opening with a toothpick.
  15. Place in a baking tin or Pyrex, season with more salt and pepper and add the remaining tomato, water and olive oil. Any leftover filling can be added in the baking tin.
  16. Preheat the oven to 180oC/ 350oF (or 160oC / 325o F, if using a convection oven) and bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour (depending on their size), turning half way through.

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

Kalamari cut and served image

 

Update 28 February, 2012

Stuffed Thrapsala (Illex coindetti – short fin squids).

Kalamaria (Squids) are expensive but there are other alternatives like short fin squids (thrapsala), which are twice cheaper but equally delicious.

Using the the freshest seafood and a few ingredients makes all the difference.

stuffed thrapsala image

A minor change I made to this recipe was not to add white dry wine in the rice but added a good Greek red wine (1/2 cup), together roasted garlic, mint, parsley and tomato on top.  It produced a more robust flavour, which I prefer and will adopt in the future.

I had some leftover filling which I used to stuffed some red onions.  I used some red onions that’s why they are so dark.  You can see how to prepare the onions here.

Kalamaria and Onions Gemista image

 

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Calamari fried or stuffed image

You can find more Lenten recipes here.

Other relevant recipes:

Three recipes with thrapsala (short fin squid)

Linguine witth Kalamari

Kalamari and Shrimp Risotto

How to clean Kalamaria

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Carole

Friday 3rd of April 2015

Fab dish, it's on my shortlist for a feature. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

Ivy

Friday 3rd of April 2015

Thank you Carole. Happy Easter.

Psychgrad

Sunday 5th of April 2009

I would really like to try making squid at home. R isn't open to it at this point, but I think he would change his tune if I served it to him.

So many recipes...so little time.

Psychgrad’s last blog post..Fear of Pork

Peter

Monday 30th of March 2009

The fried kalamarakia...standard - love them and you did them well but your stuffed kalamaria and the pics with the filling exposed...to die for!

Bellini Valli

Saturday 28th of March 2009

The sttuffed squid looks especially delicious. Remind me to tell you of the time I went squid jigging off the coast of the province of Newfoundland and having ink in my hair.

Ivy

Friday 27th of March 2009

Pixen, unfortunately I've never heard of Brown Squid before but it sounds interesting.

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