dip / sauce Filipino

Pritong Pusit/ Calamares Fritos (Fried Squid Rings) with Garlic-Mayonnaise Dip

Saturday, July 25, 2015Enz F

These are appetizers or small servings of snack that are meant to be served along with an ice-cold bottle of beer or any alcoholic beverages. In the Philippines they are popularly known as pulutan (came from the Filipino root word pulot which means “to pick something up”). The Filipino pulutan is synonymous to finger foods. Pulutan ranges from inexpensive snacks peddled around the sidewalks of the streets to a more sophisticated arrays of dishes frequently prepared on special occasions. These small plate servings are an indispensable component of every Pinoy drinking sprees, be it in small clusters of men in a rural barrio or in classy disco bars and restaurants in the metro.

Pulutan is Filipino version of Spanish Tapas.
On the other hand, the Spanish counterpart tapas are meant to be served with similar principle - a selection of dishes in bite sizes or little plates, hot or cold, best paired with wine or liquor. More than being treated as an accompaniment to drinks, the small servings are designed to encourage conversation and socialization. The guests are not focused on eating a full huge meal set before them as they are accustomed to move around and engage with the fellow guests. It is also one way for them to have something to fill their stomachs so as to avoid over-indulging and to slow down the effects of alcohol.

This is the perfect garlic-mayo dip!
Here is a popular pulutan or tapas made from squid rings coated and seasoned with flour, salt and spices, and deep fried until crispy and brown. It is called Pritong Kalamares in Filipino and Calamares Fritos or Calamares a La Romana in Spanish. I can still remember eating these bits for one peso per piece along the sidewalks of Morayta and Recto during the good old college days. Usually skewered in wooden sticks, similar to fried fishballs and isaw (grilled chicken intestines) and dipped in a jar of highly-spiced vinegar sauce, these were one of the most popular street foods at that time. I can recall voraciously eating a big bunch of these in just one sitting. In this particular dish, I chose to prepare my own version of Garlic-Mayonnaise as dipping sauce. I borrowed the recipe from my good friend, Jayson. He prepared this as a side dip to dinamita (dynamite chili spring rolls) during one of the special family occasions. The addition of garlic-butter mixture highlighted to the richness of mayonnaise. I also mixed it with a dash of calamansi lime juice and minced basil for that added tang and aroma.
Pritong Pusit/ Calamares Fritos (Fried Squid Rings) with Garlic-Mayonnaise Dip
Number of Servings: 2 to 3

For the calamares
  • 1 lb. fresh squids, cleaned and sliced into rings
  • 4 tbsps. calamansi lime juice
  • 2 tbsps. soy sauce
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano powder
  • 1 tsp. thyme powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
For the garlic-mayonnaise dip
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsps. butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsps. calamansi lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • salt to taste

Clean and fry the squids
  1. To clean the squids, gently pull the tentacles away from the body pouch. Remove the beak, innards, ink sacks and the strip of transparent cartilage from the body. Cut off the eyes from the tentacles. Discard the eyes and save the tentacles. Wash the body pouch and tentacles under running water. Dry them thoroughly. Slice the squid bodies lengthwise into ½-inch rings and then cut the tentacles in half.
  2. Combine the calamansi juice and soy sauce in a bowl. Marinate the sliced squids in the mixture for about 30 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl sift and combine together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, paprika, cayenne, ground black pepper, oregano, thyme and garlic powder. Season with salt.
  4. Heat enough cooking oil in a pan. Drain the squid. Coat the squid rings and tentacles with flour mixture and then quickly dip in beaten egg. Fry them in hot oil for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until crispy and golden. Remove the squids from oil and transfer on paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  5. Arrange the fried squid rings on a serving platter and then garnish with sliced tomatoes and basil leaves. Serve along with garlic-mayonnaise dip. Enjoy!
Prepare the garlic-mayonnaise dip
  1. In a clean pan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until brown. Set aside to cool at room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl, combine together the mayonnaise, butter-garlic mixture, calamansi juice, ground black pepper and minced basil. Season with salt. Mix to incorporate all the flavors. Garnish with basil leaves and serve as a dip or spread.

  1. If fresh squids are not available, use the frozen ones.
  2. Aside from garlic-mayonnaise dip, the fried squids can also be served along with spiced vinegar.
  3. The garlic-mayo dip can be stored in a sealed jar inside the fridge for a few days to a week.

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  1. I love this garlic mayo dip! I don't know much about Filipino food but what I have tasted I just loved. I have a lot to learn from you!

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Filipino cuisine is an amalgamation of many cuisines of the world. Never hesitate to try them. :)

  2. I like your choice of dipping sauce. This sounds like something I'd definitely order if I saw it on a menu :)

    1. Thank you! The garlic-mayo is a personal favorite of mine. Its so versatile. :)

  3. That's a fantastic platter of appetisers. I do love the look of the garlic dip. Filipino cuisine seems very exciting xx

    1. Thank you! I hope you get a hand of some Filipino foods. There are a bunch of wonderful recipes to try on! :)


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