To make the dressing, rinse the coriander, pick off the leaves and chop. Mix with the rest of the dressing ingredients and set aside. Place the calamari tubes in a colander and rinse inside and out under cold running water. Drain well. Check that each tube has been cleaned properly and remove any remaining cartilage or membrane inside the tubes.
Slice the tubes into rings about 1cm wide and place in a large bowl. The flap at the end of the calamari tube can be cooked or discarded.
Pour boiling water over calamari rings until just covered and leave to blanch for two minutes. Drain well and return to the bowl.
The rings should now look white, partially cooked and curled around the edges. Check the blanched rings again for any thin membrane on the inside, if you didn’t get it the first time it will be very easy to pull off once blanched. Heat a grill pan over a high heat and have the dressing ready. While the pan is heating, toss the calamari in a little sunflower oil and pat dry with paper towel.
Once the pan is smoking hot, add a few rings to the pan and cook for 30 seconds to a minute on each side. The rings should be golden and charred without being overcooked. Once all the rings are cooked, divide the rice between four bowls, add some Asian salad leaves, top with the hot calamari, spoon over the dressing and serve immediately.
Blanching the calamari first helps to tenderise it. Layering sliced kiwi fruit and papaya over calamari also has a tenderising effect because of the enzymes in the fruit. It isn’t necessary to blanch small, thin calamari tubes.
To be tender, calamari must be cooked for 1–5 minutes or 30–40 minutes; anything in between will make it tough.
Don’t overcrowd the grill pan, if the calamari is too wet or there are too many rings, the calamari will stew instead of grill.
To make the coconut rice, soak two cups of jasmine rice in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain. Bring to the boil in 2 cups water and 1 cup coconut cream. Simmer for 8 minutes, replace the lid, remove from heat and leave to steam for 5 minutes. To receive quick and convenient weekday recipes, join our Easy Weekday Meals mailing list, and for up-to-date trending food, restaurant and wine news subscribe to our Editor’s Weekly newsletter.