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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Calamari Coating Using Polenta

    Hi I'm going to make the Quick Calamari from Express (can't wait!) and wondered if the semolina could be swapped for polenta? Many thanks

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Quick Calamari With Garlic Mayonnnaise recipe (from Nigella Express and on the Nigella website) doesn't use a batter to coat the squid rings. Instead the calamari is tossed in a combination of cornflour (cornstarch) and semolina and then fried. The semolina gives the squid a particularly crunchy coating.

    Semolina and polenta can be interchangeable, though not in all recipes. For the calamari we suspect that it is possible to use polenta or cornmeal instead but you must still use cornflour in the recipe. Polenta will give the calamari a  golden yellow colour before it is fried and it will be more difficult to tell when the squid is cooked as you can't look for the change to a golden colour as the squid fries. Be careful not to over cook the squid as it will become rubbery, we suggest test frying a small batch first for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes to get your frying times right. We would also mention that polenta comes in different sized grains and you will want to use a very fine polenta. If ithe polenta is too coarse then the coating on the squid will be gritty and unpalatable.

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