What Is Calamari?

In modern times, it is certainly true that the food we eat has become much more adventurous and exotic – with many of us eating things that, once upon a time, we wouldn’t have even considered, let alone have access to. 

What Is Calamari

One such example is calamari – a popular ingredient within (particularly) Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, and one that has much to offer in the way of flavor, texture, and versatility. 

But what exactly is calamari, and what makes it so special? 

What Exactly Is Calamari?

Taken from the Italian word for ‘squid’, calamari is a delicacy in many areas of the world – usually involving the squid meat being sliced into rings, and either battered or deep fried until crispy. 

These are commonly eaten with various forms of Mediterranean pasta dishes, with Chinese food in some western countries, and even as a form of street food in some countries. 

What Does Calamari Taste Like?

The taste of calamari varies depending on how it is prepared and cooked. 

When it is battered and deep fried, it is commonly described as tasting like fried chicken – due to the chewy texture of the meat. 

However, when simply cooked or fried without batter, it generally has a mild taste that is both pleasant, and somewhat shellfish like in nature. 

While many might imagine it to be either strong tasting, or somewhat ‘fishy’, this simply isn’t the case, and in fact calamari has one of the mildest flavors of all seafood – something that makes it a popular dish for many. 

How Is Calamari Made?

Once the fresh squid has been caught, there are certain methods by which calamari is made or prepared. 

While the body, arms (tentacles), and ink are all edible components of the squid, calamari generally uses meat from tentacles – especially when it is being deep fried – as this lends itself to the common ‘ring’ presentation by which they are served. 

However, when eaten as a snack within Asian countries, meat from the whole squid can be used – where it is often shredded and dried to be eaten as street food. 

Is Calamari Healthy?

One of the things that makes calamari so popular – especially within Mediterranean and Asian cultures – is the fact that calamari is a healthy addition to any diet, and possesses many traits that make it great for eating. 

What Benefits Does Calamari Have?

Following on from this fact, there are numerous benefits that come with eating calamari – many of which go some way to explain why the dish is so popular all around the world. 

Rich In Protein

As with most forms of meat and seafood, calamari is actually quite rich in protein, which makes it a great addition to a balanced, healthy diet. 

What’s more, calamari is also a complete protein, which means that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.

These amino acids are great for regulating bodily functions, aiding with muscle growth, maintaining and caring for the muscles, keeping us filled with energy, and giving us more stamina. 

Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Calamari is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These are important for many reasons, and bring a lot to the table in terms of general health and wellbeing. 

Some of the main benefits of these fatty acids is the avoidance of heart disease, the promotion of good heart health, preventing inflammation, and improving mental health. 

Low In Mercury

Unlike most seafood, calamari is actually relatively low in mercury – a substance that can be dangerous when consumed in large amounts. 

When consumed in large amounts, mercury poisoning can cause numerous things to shut down – including the kidneys, and several key parts of the brain, leading to lowered intelligence. 

As such, calamari is a safer alternative for seafood lovers who are concerned about mercury. 

Contains Choline

Calamari is also rich in choline – a substance that is similar in nature to vitamins, and has numerous benefits for liver health and brain function. 

This means that calamari has numerous benefits for several organs, and has the potential to improve bodily function in general. 

Rich In Selenium

Calamari has also shown to be rich in selenium – a substance that has important antioxidant properties. 

Oxidation of our cells is what causes us to age, what triggers the onset of chronic illnesses, and what sees us develop things like cancer and heart disease as we age. 

As such, introducing antioxidants into our diets is one of the best ways to slow down aging, and limit the potential of these harmful diseases. 

Rich In Copper

Calamari is also shown to be rich in copper – a substance that is important for bone health, bolstering the cardiovascular system, reinforcing the nervous system, triggering iron production, and forming red blood cells. 

As such, it plays an important role in numerous vital bodily functions. 

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about calamari, what it actually is, and how it is made. 

It is certainly true that calamari has become popular in recent decades – with more and more people being able to get past where it comes from, and enjoy the delicious dish that it actually is. 

So if you are looking for something new to try, then why not opt for calamari? 

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we know a little more about what calamari is, and the things that make it such a special dish, it is now time to answer some frequently asked questions that you might be interested in.

Is Calamari Expensive?

While squid meat is considered tougher and cheaper quality, calamari is known for being more expensive and of higher quality.

Is Calamari Safe To Eat?

When calamari is cooked properly and prepared fresh, it is more than safe to eat. Under these circumstances, it is even safe to eat while pregnant – however this should not be in excessive amounts.

Mark Williams
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