What’s cooking today: Calamari medallions with lime, garlic and ginger

What’s cooking today: Calamari medallions with lime, garlic and ginger
Tony Jackman’s calamari medallions with garlic, ginger and lime. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Calamari medallions? You may, like me, have been wondering quite what they are. Let’s investigate.

The ‘calamari medallions’ staring at me from the freezer in my local superstore have been intriguing me for some time. I’ve only encountered them in recent months, though perhaps they’ve been there much longer and somehow escaped my notice. How or where, you may wonder as I did, do you manage to get medallions out of calamari? A ‘steak’, yes, but medallions?

It turns out that ‘calamari medallions’ are the tentacles of a giant squid, a species also known as Humboldt squid, jumbo squid, jumbo flying squid, pota (in Peru) and jibia (in Chile). Wikipedia tells us that it is “a large, predatory squid living in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is the only known species of the genus Dosidicus of the subfamily Ommastrephinae, family Ommastrephidae”. It is named as “Dosidicus gigas” on the Pescanova packet, and when you google those two words, this product comes up, along with photos of this pudgy whitish squid.

I popped some in the trolley and took them home, defrosting them in the sink in cold water, which is the best way to defrost calamari and prawns; within an hour they should be perfectly defrosted, as if fresh from the sea.

It also turns out that you can treat them exactly the same as you would calamari ‘steaks’ or strips. You need to note however that, having been deep frozen, they are somewhat waterlogged once defrosted, so you need to lay them out on a kitchen towel and gently press down with another to mop up excess water, then pat them dryer still with kitchen paper, so that the residual water has gone by the time you fry them. 

You can choose to dust them with seasoned flour if you prefer, though I put them directly in the pan, as follows…

(Serves 4)


800 g calamari medallions (i.e. 2 packs of the Pescanova brand)

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 x 3 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or chopped finely

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Coconut oil, as needed

4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal

3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Coriander leaves, chopped, for garnish

Asian noodles, soaked in boiled water and drained


When you start cooking, boil a kettle and pour plenty of water over the noodles in a bowl, to soak while you cook the calamari.

Gently fry the garlic and ginger in melted coconut oil and add the lime zest and scallions. Stir fry until softened and then add rice vinegar and lime juice. Remove to a side dish, including all the juices, which will go back into the pan later.

Fry the medallions in coconut oil in the same pan in batches, on a moderately high heat, removing them to a side dish while you cook the next batch. Be sure to cook them for less than 3 minutes or they risk becoming tough and chewy. Turn them while cooking. Season with salt and pepper as you go.

Add the other ingredients and juices back to the pan, toss to heat through for a minute or two, and serve immediately with the noodles, garnished with coriander. DM

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed in a bowl by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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