How To Cook The Best Grilled Squid

Filipinos love to grill, but what makes them distinct from other countries is that they explore more of the variety of dishes they can grill. There’s no wonder why they have many restaurants that serve delicious and competitive meals. Come on and satisfy your cravings as we share with you how to cook the ultimate grilled squid or inihaw na pusit. 

Inihaw na pusit with a toss of garnish inside makes it a simple but authentic dish ever. Since the Philippines is surrounded by water, it is evident that their meals are mostly seafood. You can also explore more variations of this dish as you go on this article.

(Photo Credits to: kawalingpinoy)

For all other simplicity, though, this dish is easy to mess up from preparation to the grilling process. So, it requires overcoming fundamental tips to polish it all. As we go on, we will share all of that information with you. So that in your next culinary activity, you are ready and confident enough to serve your version of inihaw na pusit.

What is Grilled Squid

(Photo Credits to: pepper)

Inihaw na pusit in plain sight can be described as a marinated squid, put various toppings inside, and grilled to perfection. How ironic that when you look at it, it may seem dull, uncomplicated, and straightforward but to cook, but the moment you taste it, that’s when you finally realize it is all worth it.

Where did it originate from?

For Filipinos, we call the squid as kalamares, but for Italy, it is known as calamari. It sounds the same, but different in spelling. The Mediterranean part is said to be the origin of deep-frying the squid, and later on, it is quickly spread in Northern America as a popular dish. 

After that, they improved this dish and tried to grill it. Fortunately, Italian succeeded because many people like the taste of squid when cooked. Sadly, some people have a seafood allergy, so they can’t taste the delicious flavor of inihaw na pusit.

What are the fillings made of?

After cleaning your squids, begin with putting fillings inside of the squids. It is the time wherein you are adding extra flavor to your squid. The taste of the stuffing you will put compliments the squid’s characteristics, especially when it is already grilled. Here are those

  • Tomatoes – the typical sourness of tomatoes contributes to the juiciness of your squid. It is essential to any other fish if you are about to grill them. That’sThat’s why if you have noticed, fishes do have tomato filling, too, when making it. Tomatoes also give your extra squid nutrients because it is one primary source of dietary antioxidant linked to many other health benefits like reducing cancer and heart disease risk. It’sIt’s good to know that it is included in the fillings. 
  • Ginger – the ginger helps to enhance the fresh taste of squid after grilled. It also contributes to the squid to release its pleasant aroma when making it. Like tomatoes, it is good that we have it, too. Ginger helps us to have balanced digestion and acts as an anti-inflammatory. 
  • Onion – if you have noticed, onion often serves us fillings to kinds of seafood and in meats and chicken. Onions contain proteolytic enzymes that make it ideal for helping tenderize your squids. So, when you bite your inihaw na pusit, it is not too soft but has a mild-balanced chewy taste.  
  • Salt and pepper – to have a strong taste in your inihaw na pusit, don’t forget to put salt into it. Also, it always comes with ground black pepper to give some spice. 
  • Parsley – this one is optional because not everyone likes the taste. However, for many, it gives the squids a light scent and fresh taste. 

All these fillings are necessary to make your inihaw na pusit more delicious and tastier.

What is its marinade made of

Like barbeque, inihaw na pusit has to be marinated before cooking to have a strong flavor and taste. That’sThat’s why you must know how to get the perfect blend. 

In marinating your squid right after putting the fillings, it is better to soak it first with extracted citrus fruits like lemons or calamansi. It will remove the unnecessary smell of squid, if any, and replace it with a fresh look and aroma.

Afterward, you have to coat it with salt, pepper, and other essential ingredients to taste better. These are the minced garlic and chili flakes. A bright marinade made with these mixed ingredients adds bold flavor to the fish dish. Gently rub into the squid while pressing it to absorb completely. Soak it with mixed honey, soy sauce, and oyster sauce, then wrap it and refrigerate overnight. 

Like any other grilled dish, it is tastier to marinate it 24 hours or overnight to sink in all flavors that the squid needed. However, if you are in a rush, 6 hours will do. 

What kind of sauce is ideal for Grilled Squid

Two is always better than one. That’sThat’s why inihaw na pusit must have an excellent dipping sauce for you to enjoy it more. If you ask for the perfect dipping sauce for this dish, the answer is it depends on your taste preference. The vulnerability of squid’s taste when grilled makes it compliment more than one kind of sauce. Here are the two greatest and most requested dipping sauces for inihaw na pusit. 

  • Sweet Soy-vinegar Sauce – among other sauces, this is the most popular, especially in Asian countries. These are made from a combination of chopped onions with soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Adding minced red bell pepper into it gives extra spice to the sauce. 
  • Thai Dipping Sauce – this originated in Thailand. That’sThat’s why it is called that way. To have some, combine extracted lemon juice and Thai fish sauce, then dilute brown sugar to the mixture. Add red, green bell pepper, chopped onions and ginger, and fresh coriander. It is sweet and sour with a mild salty taste, perfect for the feeling of inihaw na pusit. 


(Photo Credits to: reddit)

If you’re looking for other unique recipes aside from the usual and everyday routine of inihaw na pusit, you can consider having this.

Kalamares on a Stick Food

Calamari is not as easy as it looks while preparing it. That’sThat’s why some put it on a stick to stay firm. This version is often done in restaurants because customers don’t want to use plates and forks to eat it. Instead, they eat it on a stick already. This style is one of the most in-demand recipes of kalamares. 

The process of filling and marinating is just the same, and putting the sticks is after these processes. Inputting sticks in the squids, make sure that your rods are longer than your squids to have a space for handling. You have to start stabbing with the tail until it reaches the body and head.

Kalamares Stuffed

This version is very straightforward because it only needs filling, as mentioned above (tomatoes, ginger, onions), and seasonings. We will add extra stuffings like annatto oil, mirin, and scallions, and the filling will make the squids more appetizing. The result is more tasty and tender inihaw na pusit. This style is one of the easy-to-do recipes.

Salad Style Food

For the salad buffs, this is one of the recipes for you. In this version, after cleaning your calamari, you will skip the process of stuffing or putting fillings in squids; only the marinating alone will be done, then proceed to grill. After grilled, cut them into slices. To make salads, add cooked and sliced potatoes, chopped onions, parsley, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. You will now have your inihaw na pusit salad.

Rellenong Kalamares

The term Relleno means “add stuffings.” Filipino love Relleno dishes, especially milkfish Relleno. Nice thing that you can also have this food in your favorite calamari. 

To do so, it also requires adding fillings inside, but it is quite different from usual. It has to be filled with cooked ingredients like ground pork, chopped potatoes and carrots, minced onions, and parsley seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. It has to be grilled afterward. This style is one of the most demanding recipes of kalamares.

Cheesy Kalamares

For the cheese lovers, this is one of the recipes for you. This version has cheese sauce on the cooked inihaw na pusit. If you are familiar with baked mac and cheese, the sauce is similar to the sauce here. To do so, pour milk into a skillet and let it simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste, then put grated cheddar cheese. 

Whisk it until it melts and achieves the desired texture. Then, please put it on the inihaw na pusit. You can garnish with chopped parsley if you want. Enjoy the creamy and cheesy taste of the sauce that matches the flavor of chewy inihaw na pusit!

Kalamares with Mushroom Sauce

Here, follow with the usual process but skip the filling process because mushroom sauce would not match the taste of inihaw na pusit. After roasting, drizzle it with the sauce and eat while hot. Enjoy!

Teriyaki Kalamares

You can’t get enough with the teriyaki inihaw na pusit version! The process of filling and marinating is just the same, and you will only add the sauce. The sweetness with a bit of sour taste of teriyaki sauce is a perfect blend while biting the chewy grilled sauce. For sure, you will ask for extra rice on this version!

Mango-Stuffed Kalamares

For mango lovers, this is one of the recipes for you. This version is simple to make as you have to follow the usual filling and marinating process. You have to add sliced or chopped ripe mango as one of the stuff of your calamari, marinate then grilled to perfection. The natural sweetness of mango blends with the taste of inihaw na pusit makes your dish an impressive appetizer, too.

Keto Kalamares

For the body-conscious, this is one of the recipes for you. At the same time, these shellfish can still be included in a ketogenic diet. It is essential to account for these carbs when you are trying to stay within a narrow range. Don’tDon’t worry because your calamari is within the field as it has only 3 grams of carb counts, so it will not ruin your diet. It is also enriched with vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 that helps our mental and body health.

Gluten-free Calamari

For the health-conscious, this is also one of the recipes for you. Do you have a gluten-free diet? Luckily, you can still have your favorite inihaw na pusit because it has no gluten since you haven’t added any ingredient made with gluten. It’sIt’s a simple squid dish that mostly relies on the right ingredients rather than your culinary skills. It’sIt’s not just delicious, but you have the assurance of having a gluten-free meal.

Troubleshooting you Grilled Calamari

Grilling is just about as much fun as you can have, especially if you have an occasion. So, you won’t be happy if you may encounter problems. To avoid this, these can help you. 

  • If the inihaw na pusit is too dry, the smoke rising from grilling adds great smoky flavors to your inihaw na pusit. However, it can also dry your dish. The solution is to grill thicker cuts. The thicker the cuts or slices are easier to grill than thinner ones. It also holds better juices inside. 
  • If the squids stick on the grilling pad/metal, this is making inihaw na pusit melt, and parts will break. To prevent this from happening, always keep your grill clean because grilling on a filthy grate coated with a burnt, stuck-on to the dish is like frying in a dirty pan. Another tip is to put oil in the grill before putting and cooking the squids. It will prevent the squids from ticking on the grates. Never use non-stick cooking spray, too.


Do you know that aside from being delicious, inihaw na pusit truly has nutritional benefits to us? Here it goes. 

A 3 ounce serving of calamari, approximately 2-3 calamari, amounts to a moderate 150 calories, 15 grams of proteins, and 7 grams of carbohydrate. To sum up, this is a balance and enough value of nutrition we need daily.


These are our tips for you to avoid having a rubberized and chewy flesh of squid after grilled. 

  1. Make sure that you remove as much water or any moisture from the squid as possible. After you cleaned and cut up the squids, pat dries them using a paper towel. Drying the squid will help it to cook brown faster. If it is too et, it will first use the heat to dry up and then start to brown, which will take a longer time and result in tougher squids.
  2. Our second tip for you is to cook the squid on very high heat for a short time. You can grill the whole pieces of squids over hot coals and a hot grilling pan. However, make sure that the heat and the pot are high enough before you add the squid. A minute on either side should be fair, and patches of a beautiful tan char should appear. You can leave the tentacles on for longer until they are crispy. Be careful though
  3. Always remember that fishes are more delicious when they are cooked right after buying. Try and cook it as quickly as possible as the flavor and aroma will change after a day. So, the fresher the calamari, the better. 

Ideally Served With

Due to the vulnerability of the taste of inihaw na pusit, it is better with these side dishes. 

  1. Braised Vegetable is said to be the most common partner of grilled kinds of fish—the taste of inihaw na pusit coordinates well while eating braised vegetables. 
  2. Pita Bread – to soak up the flavored oil and marinades of squids, pita bread is the right partner for this dish. 
  3. Potato Chips – You could also roast some sweet potato chips or serve a side of simple boiled potatoes drizzled with olive oil or some melted butter. Or add the boiled potatoes to your plate, and they will soak up all those beautiful juices from the squid, garlic, and olive oil.
  4. Ensaladang Talong – this is the Filipino version of roasted eggplant. The richness of eggplant with a hint of sweetness from tomatoes and onions mixed in a light dressing of salt, sugar, and vinegar makes an incredible side dish with our inihaw na pusit. The salad has just the perfect balance of flavor and texture. It is not too sour, salty, and sweet. 
  5. Tinolang Manok – slurping the soup of tingling manok, a Filipino chicken soup with chicken, is better as you bite your inihaw na pusit. 
  6. Garlic Butter Shrimp – the savory taste of garlic butter shrimp compliments the taste of your squid, especially when it is grilled. 
  7. Lumpiang Shanghai – this is a Filipino deep-fried appetizer consisting of a mixture of ground pork, selected veggies, and seasonings, then wrapped in a thin egg crepe. Its savory taste blends with the inihaw na pusit. 


Grilling your squids allows the naturally rich flavor to emerge. It is like having an extraordinary dish out of a usual squid and making a delicious but healthy meal for the family. It is nice to know that we can have it any time we want. There is no proper time to eat this inihaw na pusit if you wish a fantastic appetizer for lunch or dinner. 
When it’s as fresh as it can be, marinated and grilled just right, inihaw na pusit makes a perfect pulutan choice to be with beer or the ideal partner for a steaming hot cup of rice. We provided all you need to know on how to cook the inihaw na pusit, and it is your time to give feedback by trying it, too. After all, there’s no reason for not trying it at home!

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Superb Grilled Calamari Making Procedure

Grilled calamari is a delectable treat for fish lovers. This dish is one of the sought-after recipes on the dining table. Do not forget to serve this on various occasions!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Seafood Recipes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 8kcal
Cost $5-$20


  • 8 pcs Squid cleaned
  • 1 pc Onion finely chopped
  • 4 pcs Tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Calamansi extract
  • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 pcs Long green chilies cut into rings
  • 1/2 tsp Cooking oil


  • In a large bowl, combine onion, tomatoes and chilies.
  • Season with salt, pepper and calamansi extract. Stir for 5 minutes.
  • Stuff the squid with the onion and tomato mixture. Add more if necessary. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a grill pan. Grill the squid for 6-8 minutes per side over low heat.
  • Transfer in a serving plate. Eat while hot!


Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 294mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g
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