African Garlic Cayenne Calamari Recipe

Serves/Makes: 4 - 6


  • 1 1/2 pounds calamari (squid) tubes, thoroughly cleaned
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon milled black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 7 ounces butter
  • 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges for squeezing
  • Nigerian Fried Red Pepper Sauce (see below)
How to cook African Garlic Cayenne Calamari:
  • Slice the calamari according to size smaller specimens are better cut in half, lengthwise, laid flat and each piece scored lightly in a diamond pattern. Next, toss the calamari in the flour seasoned with the black pepper and cayenne.
  • In a large, non-stick frying pan, heat the butter and oil until it starts to brown. Stir in the garlic, add the calamari and fry for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, depending on the thickness. Press it down with a spatula to brown nicely. Cook the calamari in batches, to control how quickly it cooks.
  • Transfer the fried calamari to a warmed serving platter, and squeeze the lemon wedges over the top. Last, spoon the Nigerian Fried Red Pepper Sauce over the appetizer. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with rice.

Nigerian Fried Red Pepper Sauce (Ata Dindin) Recipe

Nigerian Fried Red Pepper Sauce (Ata Dindin) Ingredients:
  • 10 dried red New Mexican chiles, seeds and stems removed, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
How to cook Nigerian Fried Red Pepper Sauce (Ata Dindin):
  • Remove the chiles from the water and puree them in a blender or food processor.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onion, pureed chiles, tomato sauce, and salt. Fry over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Variation: Add 1 chopped bell pepper and cook with the onion mixture.
    Yield: 1 1/2 cups


This South African recipe is a party favorite. However, take care to not over cook the calamari it turns from tender to tough and chewy very quickly, so remove it from the pan the moment it s done.
Ata is the Yoruba word for chile pepper, and Nigerian chiles range from the tiny ata wewe to the large ata funfun. This sauce is served like a relish or dip with many West African dishes, particularly grilled meats.


How to prepare squid (calamari) or cuttlefish for cooking.

This recipe for African Garlic Cayenne Calamari serves/makes: 4 - 6

The African Garlic Cayenne Calamari recipe and the pictures are adopted from The Our Favorite Fish & Seafood Recipes Cookbook.

Main Ingredient: Squid/Cuttlefish (more Squid/Cuttlefish recipes)
Preparation Method: Appetizer (more Appetizer recipes)
Cuisine: African (more African recipes)

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