What Are the Different Types of Calamari Sauces?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann
Fresh squid used for calamari.
Fresh squid used for calamari.

Calamari, or squid, is typically served with a sauce, such as spicy tomato sauce, Thai lime dipping sauce or creamy white wine sauce. There are a wide variety of recipes for calamari sauces to choose from which feature wine, such as calamari shellfish sauce. Some calamari sauces are made for dipping, such as creamy ponzu dipping sauce, while others have the calamari immersed in them before being served, such as chile coconut sauce.

Fried calamari.
Fried calamari.

Many types of calamari sauce have a tomato base. Mama's calamari sauce features cans of plum tomatoes, garlic and basil. Calamari shellfish sauce features red wine, canned tomatoes and onions. Calamari with canned tomato sauce is made from Italian tomato puree, tomato paste and garlic.

Fish sauce is used to add a salty flavor to several types of calamari sauces. Calamari dipping sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. It is made with shallots, fish sauce and rice vinegar. It also features honey, soy sauce and mayonnaise. Chile coconut sauce features coconut milk, shallots and garlic. The ingredients are added to fish sauce, jalapeno chili and ginger and pureed in a blender. Fried calamari are stirred into the sauce before being served.

Some simple calamari sauces feature only a few ingredients, such as lemon dill sauce and cocktail sauce. Lemon dill sauce is made with mayonnaise, lemon juice and minced shallot. Cocktail sauce features ketchup, lemon juice and prepared horseradish.

Dill is commonly used to season calamari sauces.
Dill is commonly used to season calamari sauces.

Lime-flavored calamari sauces are common. Thai lime dipping sauce features tangy lime juice combined with fresh basil and mint. Thai fish sauce gives the dipping sauce a salty flavor. Creamy ponzu dipping sauce features mayonnaise, ponzu and chopped fresh cilantro. In addition, the recipe features fresh grated ginger, lime juice and cayenne pepper.

Jalapeno peppers can be used to make a chile coconut sauce for calamari.
Jalapeno peppers can be used to make a chile coconut sauce for calamari.

Some calamari sauces are served with noodles. Calamari in a creamy white wine sauce is served over linguine pasta. The sauce is made from white wine, cream and cornstarch. Calamari with sweet chili sauce features fish sauce, lime juice and sesame oil. Almond-crusted calamari with Mediterranean dipping sauce features calamari breaded in almonds and flour and fried in canola oil. The calamari is sprinkled with parsley and served in bowls drizzled with a tomato jam sauce.

Fish sauce, which features soy sauce, is one type of calamari sauce.
Fish sauce, which features soy sauce, is one type of calamari sauce.

Red pepper flakes are used to add zest to many calamari sauces. Fried hazelnut-crusted calamari with spicy tomato sauce features calamari coated in hazelnuts and cayenne pepper, and then fried in peanut oil. The spicy sauce is made from tomato sauce, roughly chopped parsley and red pepper flakes. Calamari with fresh tomato sauce and eggplant features a sauce made from wine and tomatoes. It is seasoned with hot red pepper flakes and fresh oregano.

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Discussion Comments

candyquilt

Fried calamari taste just like fries to me so I usually eat it like I would eat fries -- with ketchup and spicy mayonnaise. Restaurants usually offer fancier sauces to go with it though, usually lime and herb based sauces. Of all the herbs that could be used in calamari sauce like basil, parsley and mint, I like cilantro the best. It's not as common an ingredient as the others but it adds a nice punch to any tomato based calamari sauce.

I made a cilantro-tomato calamari pasta once for dinner that everyone just loved.

fBoyle

@stoneMason-- Have you ever tried calamari with garlic and lemon mayonnaise though? I think you should give it a try. If you like lemon based sauces for calamari, then I'm guessing that you'll like this as well. It's not as heavy as one would thing and it works great for fried or grilled calamari.

stoneMason

Fried calamari with Thai lime dipping sauce is just amazing. I've always liked lime or lemon with seafood. The sour and citrus flavor of limes and lemons counter the fishy flavor of calamari and makes the overall flavor of the dish lighter and more aromatic. Tomato based cocktail sauce is good too but I prefer that with shrimp more than calamari.

My sister on the other hand loves a mayonnaise based sauce with her fried calamari. I don't like that at all. It's too oily and fatty in my opinion.

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    • Fresh squid used for calamari.
      Fresh squid used for calamari.
    • Fried calamari.
      Fried calamari.
    • Dill is commonly used to season calamari sauces.
      Dill is commonly used to season calamari sauces.
    • Jalapeno peppers can be used to make a chile coconut sauce for calamari.
      Jalapeno peppers can be used to make a chile coconut sauce for calamari.
    • Fish sauce, which features soy sauce, is one type of calamari sauce.
      Fish sauce, which features soy sauce, is one type of calamari sauce.