A Sri Lankan favorite that is so good it can convert any squid-hater out there.

Hot Butter Cuttlefish – one of the island’s favorite snack foods! It is deceptively simple to make, and so good that it is sure to convert anyone who doesn’t like cuttlefish into loving it!

This is another one of those classic dishes that is so famous that everyone in Sri Lanka knows exactly what you’re talking about when you say the letters HBC (like the famous CBP or Chocolate Biscuit Pudding).

This dish is pretty easy to make and has a quite familiar process to those Indo-Chinese type saucy stir-fries, except that it does not have any soy sauce. The main ingredient – other than the squid – that shines through is the butter. The butter also prevents the squid from smelling too fishy, making it a hit even among those who have been known to complain about things like that.

If you’ve never had hot butter cuttlefish, it is something you HAVE to try!

What are the ingredients needed to make Sri Lankan Hot Butter Cuttlefish?
  • 200-250g (2 medium-sized) cuttlefish/squid/calamari,
  • Marinade:
    – 1 egg white,
    – salt, to taste,
    – 1 tsp pepper
  • For crumbing:
    – 1/3 cup cornflour,
    – 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Oil, for frying
  • For the stir-fry:
    – 50g butter,
    – 1 inch/1 tbsp ginger, minced,
    – 1 tbsp/4 cloves garlic, minced,
    – 1 medium onion, finely sliced,
    – 1/4 cup bell/banana peppers, finely sliced,
    – 1/2 tsp sugar,
    – 2 tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup,
    – 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • spring onions, for garnish
How to make Hot Butter Cuttlefish at home?

The first step to this recipe is to clean and prep your cuttlefish. Watch me clean cuttlefish from scratch in this video:

  1. Once your squid is prepped, we marinate it in egg white, salt, and pepper before tossing it through a mixture of cornflour and turmeric.
  2. The cuttlefish then get deep-fried to golden brown and crunchy perfection.
  3. Slice onions and peppers and mince the ginger and garlic.
  4. Melt butter in a wok or kadhai and fry the minced ginger and garlic before adding the veggies.
  5. Once they cook down slightly, add your sauce, sugar, and chili powder.
  6. Add the fried cuttlefish, toss through and take it off the heat.
  7. Garnish with some spring onions and serve with a cold drink or as a side dish for fried rice.

Here’s a recipe video I put together on how to make Hot Butter Cuttlefish:

Here’s the step-by-step recipe to make hot butter cuttlefish/squid:

Hot Butter Cuttlefish Recipe

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Serves: 3-4

Step 1: Prep the cuttlefish.

  • 200-250g (2 medium-sized) cuttlefish/squid/calamari
  1. Pull the head off gently and remove the gunk from inside the body.
  2. Peel the skin off and wash the cuttlefish.
    Note: Watch the video above or click here to see how to clean cuttlefish. You can either discard the head and tentacles or fry them as well.
  3. You can either slice it in rings or in the more traditional method, which is to slice rectangles and make slits along one of the wider edges. You can see how I do this in the recipe video above (click here).

Step 2: Marinate, crumb, and fry the cuttlefish.

  • Marinade:
    – 1 egg white,
    – salt, to taste,
    – 1 tsp pepper
  • For crumbing:
    – 1/3 cup cornflour,
    – 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Oil, for frying
  1. Add the egg white, salt, and pepper along with the sliced cuttlefish. Set aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the corn flour, turmeric powder, and salt together.
  3. Dip each piece of cuttlefish in the flour mixture, making sure to coat evenly. Dust off excess flour and continue until all are crumbed.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and check if it has come up to temperature by dropping in a small piece of cuttlefish or flour. If it bubbles and rises to the surface within a few seconds, it is ready.
  5. Deep fry the cuttlefish in batches until they become golden and crispy.
    Caution: Stand back as the oil can splatter, especially when you’re frying the head and tentacles.

Step 3: Stir-fry in butter.

  • For the stir-fry:
    – 50g butter,
    – 1 inch/1 tbsp ginger, minced,
    – 1 tbsp/4 cloves garlic, minced,
    – 1 medium onion, finely sliced,
    – 1/4 cup bell/banana peppers, finely sliced,
    – 1/2 tsp sugar,
    – 2 tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup,
    – 1 1/2 tsp chili powder,
  • spring onions, for garnish
  1. Chop the onions and peppers into thin slices. Mince the garlic and ginger.
  2. In a nonstick pan on high heat, add the butter and let it melt.
  3. Add the minced ginger and garlic, and cook until they lose their raw smell.
    Tip: You can use 1 tablespoon premade ginger garlic paste instead to make it easier.
  4. Then add the onion and peppers and mix until they look slightly cooked.
  5. Then add the sugar, tomato sauce, and chili powder.
    Tip: Add a little bit more or less chili powder according to how spicy you’d like the dish to be.
  6. Cook for about 10-20 seconds, and then add the fried cuttlefish.
  7. Give everything a toss, garnish with spring onions, and you’re ready to serve!

Notes

– You can use bell peppers if you cannot find banana peppers.

If you liked that, you might be interested in some of these recipes:

Have you made this recipe? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below! I would also love to hear your thoughts, questions, or doubts.

Rate this recipe!