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


Kalamaria 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.

During the past weeks I have made kalamari a couple of times, both fried and stuffed.

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.  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.   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.

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.


Kalamaria Gemista me Manitaria (Stuffed Squid with mushrooms) – Recipe by Ivy

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time:45 minutes

Serves:3- 4







Olive oil, divided



onion, finely copped



Garlic, finely chopped


Spring onions, only the white,finely chopped



Button mushrooms, finely chopped



(500 grams) whole tomatoes, blended  with 1 tbsp tomato paste and divided






Rice Carolina or glace (similar to Arborio)



White dry wine



Fresh oregano, finely chopped



Fresh thyme, finely chopped



Parsley, finely chopped




Freshly ground black pepper



Raisins or craisins (I used craisins)



Clean and wash the kalamari and remove and cut tentacles in small pieces.


Heat half the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent.


Then add the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes and then add the oregano and thyme.


Add the tentacles and sauté as well.


Then add the rice and sauté for a few minutes and add the wine and keep mixing until the alcohol evaporates.


Add 1/3 of the tomato and water and season with salt and pepper.


Keep mixing constantly until the water is absorbed.Finally mix in the parsley and craisins and set aside to cool.


Stuff the kalamari and secure opening with a toothpick. Place in a Pyrex, add remaining tomato and the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.


Preheat oven at 180o C and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, (depending on the size of the kalamari), turning once.

Notes: If you have leftover filling, wrap it in aluminum foil and put it in the dish with the kalamari.

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.

Thrapsala 2 short fin squid ready to be baked

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.


See also:

How to clean Kalamaria

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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12 Responses

  1. Both dishes look fantastic! I would gladly take a plate of each!

    Cheers and have a great weekend,

    Rosa xoxo

  2. I have only had fried squid and i loved it.
    Never had the filles ones, would love to have a taste from them as they look so yumm.

  3. Forgot to say your pic is really beautiful.

  4. The only time I tried Kalamari was in Sydney, & they were yum. You’ve made a neat load of the stuffed ones too Ivy, WOW!!

  5. heart n soul

    absolutely mouthwatering pics, I’d do anything for a plate of kalamarakia right now:)

  6. yummy… i love squid. Have you tried Brown Squid? It’s made from soaking dried Squid in lye water (or baking soda with water… that I haven’t have infos). The soaking liquid is changed several times until the dried squid becomes larger than it’s dried form (expanded) and wobbly (due to the lye water.) The soaked squid can be used in cooking and also as salad. Occasionally, I crave for it but I still prefer the fresh calamaris 🙂 Back in my mom’s hometown, they stuffed it with glutinous rice and then cook it in curry or sambal.

  7. Ivy

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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

  11. Carole

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

    • Ivy

      Thank you Carole. Happy Easter.