Chef's Recipes

Grilled calamari with herbs and crisp shallots

Melbourne restaurant Anchovy shares its recipe for grilled calamari - chef Thi Li describes it as a "pimped out" warm salad take on a barbecue staple.

By Thi Le
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking plus marinating
  • Serves 4
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Grilled calamari with herbs and crisp shallots
"I cannot remember a barbecue at home without calamari or baby octopus," says Anchovy chef Thi Le. "It's one of those things you throw on the barbecue to snack on while waiting for everything else to cook. It's simple and delicious with the char, the heat and the acid. The version we do at Anchovy is a pimped-up version of my mum's - more like a warm salad."


  • 600 gm whole southern calamari, cleaned, cut lengthways into 3 pieces, tentacles separated
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp very thinly sliced sawtooth coriander (see note)
  • 10 mint leaves, torn
  • 10 Thai basil leaves, torn
  • 10 Vietnamese mint leaves, torn
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into julienne
  • 3 pickled lotus stems, cut into 1cm lengths, chopped (see note) (12gm)
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced diagonally
  • Deep-fried shallots
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 4 golden shallots, halved and very thinly sliced
Green chilli dressing
  • 3 green Thai chillies (see note)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1½ tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp coriander roots, cleaned (5-6)


  • 1
    Combine calamari in a bowl with vinegar, oil, garlic and black pepper to taste, cover and refrigerate to marinate (2-3 hours).
  • 2
    For deep-fried shallots, heat oil in a wok over medium heat to 120C. Add shallots and stir continuously until golden and crisp (6-10 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain and cool.
  • 3
    For green chilli dressing, blend ingredients in a blender or jug with stick blender until finely chopped and combined.
  • 4
    Heat a barbecue to high heat and grill calamari, turning occasionally, until opaque and just cooked (2-3 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, season with salt to taste, add herbs, kaffir limes, lotus stems, spring onion, dressing and fried shallots, toss to combine and serve.


Sawtooth coriander is available from Thai or Vietnamese grocers; substitute regular coriander if it’s unavailable. Pickled lotus stems (rootlets) and green Thai chillies (scud chillies) are available from Thai grocers.
Drink Suggestion: Weingut Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner “L&T” 2015, Langenlois, Austria – a classic grüner veltliner, but with more lifted aromatics, a generous palate weight and a juicy, mineral-rich finish. Drink suggestion by Andrew Barry