Calamari frites



For the palm hearts and papaya dressing

For the batter

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 225g/8oz plain white flour
  • 150ml/¼ pint whole milk
  • a wine glassful of ice


  1. First prepare the palm heart and papaya dressing. Peel the papayas, cut them in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the papaya flesh into small cubes.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the papaya. Heat through gently for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.

  3. Slice the palm hearts as thinly as you can and mix in the papaya. Add the garlic, chopped chilli, sugar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mix together well and pour into a serving jug.

  4. Now make the batter (you need two spotlessly clean mixing bowls and a whisk). Wrap a tea towel around the base of a mixing bowl with the eggs in it and start to beat the yolks. As you are whisking, sift 100g/4oz of the flour into the yolks to form a paste. Try to get as much air into the batter mix as you can.

  5. Add the milk and the ice cubes, then continue whisking and sift in half of the remaining flour.

  6. Using a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites until extremely fluffy (shaving foam consistency). Pour the egg whites over the batter and very gently fold them in, only 3-4 times.

  7. Ensure your squid are properly cleaned and slice the tubes into rings. Lay out as many as you can on a large tray, dust with the remaining flour and season with salt. Clear both surfaces and ensure that this task has your whole concentration for the next 10 minutes.

  8. Heat the oil on a moderate heat until the surface of the oil is shimmering (CAUTION: Hot oil can be very dangerous. Do not leave unattended). Now gently immerse the calamari in the batter 5-10 at a time. Take out, drain off any excess batter and immediately drop into the hot oil, one by one, and cook for about 4-5 minutes until nicely coloured. Using a fork, pick out each ring and place it on kitchen paper to drain.

  9. Repeat until all of the calamari is cooked.

  10. To serve, pile up the calamari and pour over the dressing, with a squeeze of lime.