Recipe courtesy of Jay Ducote
Episode: Improv
Fried Calamari with Pink Lemonade Chili and Tamarind Reduction over Sesame Black Rice
1 hr
1 hr
6 late-night portions
1 hr
1 hr
6 late-night portions


  • Oil, for frying
  • Two 12-ounce cans frozen pink lemonade concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste 
  • 3 guajillo chiles, seeded 
  • 3 pasilla chiles, seeded 
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 2 cups black rice 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder 
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 pound thinly sliced calamari rounds and tentacles 
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds 
  • 1 bunch fresh basil 
  • 1/2 cup vodka 


Special equipment: a deep fryer or Dutch oven; a deep-fry thermometer

Heat a deep fryer or Dutch oven filled with oil to 375 degrees F. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 can frozen lemonade with the tamarind and guajillo and pasilla chiles. Simmer over low heat until reduced, 20 to 30 minutes.

In another small saucepan, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the black rice, cover and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour with the cornstarch, ancho chili powder, cayenne, paprika, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add the calamari to the bowl and toss to cover every piece in dry batter.

In batches, fry the calamari until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil and transfer to a paper-towel lined bowl. Season with a sprinkling of salt

Spread the sesame seeds in an oven-proof skillet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes.

In a blender, puree the remaining can of lemonade with the basil, vodka and 2 cups water.

To plate, scoop some black rice onto the center of each plate. Top with some fried calamari. Drizzle some tamarind sauce around the plate and over the calamari. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and some fresh cracked pepper around plate. Add a few drops of the pink lemonade basil cocktail. Drink the rest.

This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.


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