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Dipping sauce for calamari?

Anyone have a recipe or an inspiration/idea for a dipping sauce for calamari?

I've got a few ideas in mind (basically the tried and true) but looking for something unique or inventive.


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  1. Romesco is good and a little different than the standard aioli/marinara/tartar sauce.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Auriana

      Do you use roasted tomatoes in your Romesco sauce? I'm thinking if I do a Romesco with roasted tomatoes I can sub out the marinara. Thanks.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Ginger Soy Sauce.....slightly sweet or spicy

        Roasted Red Peppers....pureed

    2. At the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Greenville, South Carolina they serve their calamari with a sweet thai chili sauce and a big lemon wedge for squeezing. The chili sauce is so ubiquitous now that you can get it at most decent grocery stores in the ethnic food section.

      This is the stuff I keep on hand at home. I don't get it from Amazon...btw.


      1. What about a Thai inspired dip combining tamarind, lime, fish sauce, garlic, sugar and Sriracha?

        3 Replies
        1. re: JungMann

          Yeah, I've definitely got Sriracha on the ready, just not sure how to incorporate it into a sauce. I might just adopt your idea but sub in Oyster suace for the fish sauce. Thanks.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            How about a nice spicy mayo dip? Or a lemon aioli? I love calamari with just a squirt of lemon (no dipping sauce needed), but a tangy mayo-based dip would be welcome on my plate :-D

          2. re: JungMann

            I agree. After all, Sriracha, unless I'm mistaken, was created as a seafood dip.

          3. Our "house recipe" for fried calmari is to just chop up some pickled pepperoncini and scatter over the squid, then squeeze some lemon on top. We first had that at a restaurant in Savannah GA and have been serving it that way ever since, but we ate at Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger last weekend and the calamari there is served with a Thai lime dipping sauce that was delicious. I just googled it and it's fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro, basil, mint, and ginger. It was wonderful, so next time we fry calmari, we're trying this!

            1. You could do Rhode Island style fried calamari which isn't exactly a dipping sauce, I make it a bit differently but there is a link to a Jasper White recipe below. Peruvian Huacatay Sauce goes nicely, as does Piri Piri sauce (although its more along the tried and true). If you want to experiment a bit, I have had some sauces where you chop a bit of garlic, then hot peppers (something with a bit of color, malaguetas, thai red chilis, hot red italians or hungarian -- use more), and cover them with coconut milk and let them sit a while in the fridge (to pick up flavors and let the garlic mellow or fry it first)... serve it with spices you prefer and correct with a bit of lime juice as needed.


              1 Reply
              1. re: itaunas

                There's nothing better the Rhode Island style, and you can also do it sauteed, not fried.

              2. I actually like cocktail sauce with fried squid. I add loads of horseradish and some hot sauce to it. Or another mix that I make with mayo, tabasco chipotle sauce, and some capers.

                1. My favorite dipping sauce for calamari has to be the one served at Thai restaurants. It's a sweet sauce, (offset with some pepper flakes) and looks a lot like the pic I've included in this reply. If anyone knows what the sauce might consist of, please chime in.

                  Pic --> http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_7dYqaXnfFDY...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    That's Thai sweet chili dip. It has sugar, vinegar, chilies and garlic. That sauce is good on so many things. Easy to make to boot.

                  2. i love to dip fried calamari in roasted red pepper aioli -- or a cajun remoulade.

                    1. How about a dry dip?..salt & galangal powder, salt & sichuan peppercorn, smoked sea salt, salt & white pepper....etc. Or pepper jellies - red pepper jelly, jalapeno jelly, etc.

                      My favourite dip for deep fried squid in my city is served at a Cambodian restaurant: lime juice, salt and black pepper.

                      1. anything is better than the basic dull marinara sauce used in most restaurants.

                        1 Reply
                        1. This recipe has been on my to-try list for ages. It's Fried Calamari with Avocado Hummus. Got great reviews from those who tried it when it was COTM some time back.


                          10 Replies
                          1. re: JoanN

                            Avocado Hummus, eh?

                            That sounds so good, I'd probably just eat it straight. Who needs calmari when you've got avocado, garlic, olive oil, tahini, etc....

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              seriously, don't mix avocado with calamari; just gorge on each individually.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                If it were just for me, I prefer the Chinese dry dipping salt that you get at seafood restaurants for fried shrimp heads!

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  what's in that? szechuan peppercorn, chilies, salt?

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    How about Sriracha mixed with Mayonnaise (homemade preferably).

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      There are variations, but usu. salt and black pepper (not white) and some Chinese five spice. Never seen it with chilies, however.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        ok, five spice. you like the star anise in that for calamari?

                                        whatever did you do in ft. myers, fla. for resto chow?

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Are you an elephant? Can't believe you remembered!

                                          Had takeout pizza from a place called Nino's or Nano's. Late night cram sessions are a bitch, by the way.

                                          My colleague was a vegetarian, so we spent alot of time at Sweet Tomatoes. I had lots of soft serve yogurt, suffice to say.

                                          Good meals at Blu and Bacchus, our meal out at Veranda was a dud. I had a totally forgettable sea bass dish and my colleague ended up with fried green tomatoes (in a salad as I recall) and some breaded zucchini thing.

                                          I was very happy to return to the "other" coast.

                                          (P.S. I like star anise, but not for dipping seafood, however. Too pungent.)

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            why yes, i AM an elephant, and i'll thank you not to comment on my weight ever again. ;-). http://allthingsgood.typepad.com/.a/6...
                                            sorry about the bad food in fort myers. i can understand your desire to get to the other coast. we ain't got all that fancy stuff on the gulf-side, ya know. but we do have fantastic seafood. that nino's on cleveland has been there for eons -- as has the veranda. but many are favorably reporting on the veranda lately.

                                            if you were downtown at the district court, i could've told you a good place for beers after work: the "bar association" in downtown proper. http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-bar-assoc... but the "bistro" part is now closed. drinks only, and bar snacks (there used to be a resto next to the bar part, across the patio). and maybe someone can tell me if i'm correct in recalling that they do not sell booze anymore -- only beer and wine. <when they DID serve booze, and a nice pom martini, i told them that i wanted to invent the "sippy-tini" -- martini in a sippy cup for...well...you know...walkin' around. '-).>

                                            star anise i mentioned only because i thought it was a component of your five spice dipping blend, and i wasn't loving that concept in my mind's taster. maybe the affinity for calamari depends on the proportion of the star anise in the blend. i guess i just don't associate five spice with seafood flavors. i need to be educated about it. maybe i'll start a new thread where inquiring minds (mine) can do some learnin'! LOL. here's a google search to start my learning process: http://www.google.com/search?client=s...

                                            perhaps i *do* recall a lobster dish at the cantonese place in falls church, va., "XO TASTE," with some five-spice. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6186... or maybe i'm confusing the five-spice flavor from the pork (where it definitely could be tasted).

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              RE: five spice.

                                              I think like with all spices it needs to be used judiciously and with proper complementary components. Experiment for a bit, and if you still find it to your liking, ditch it. Life's too short and there are too many spices out there to try ...

                            2. I just had the most fab sweet plum sauce with a dash of sambal with my panko crusted calamari in the islands and it was sublime.

                              You changed your avatar!