Squid sambal

Squid sambal

Leanne Kitchen

Not to be confused with the myriad sambals that make up the family of uber-spicy, saucy accompaniments found throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, this curry is meaty with squid and makes a great dinner when served with plenty of rice and a stir-fried vegetable or two. It’s quite fiery, so tone down the chilli factor if you want. Fresh squid is most definitely the go here – frozen squid is rubbery and gives out water when you cook it, which is most unpleasant. It’s not hard to deal with fresh squid. Just remember to cut out the hard beak in the middle of the tentacles, get rid of all the innards and give the tubes a really good rinse after you’ve gutted them.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
80ml water, boiling
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
800g whole squid, cleaned
80ml vegetable oil
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
lime cheeks, to serve

Spice paste

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons belacan (malaysian shrimp paste)
8 large dried red chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, drained
2 medium red chillies, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 lemongrass stem, chopped, white part only
10 small red asian shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Turmeric sticky rice


  1. For the paste, wrap the belacan in foil. Heat a small, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, add the wrapped belacan then dry-fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until fragrant. Cool and unwrap. Transfer to a food processor with the remaining paste ingredients and process until a smooth paste forms, adding a little water if necessary. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the tamarind pulp with the boiling water in a bowl and stand for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve, using your fingers to press down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
  3. Combine the tamarind liquid with the soy sauce and palm sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Cut the squid into pieces about 4–5 cm long and 2.5 cm wide. Cut the tentacles in half if large, otherwise leave them whole.
  5. In a large wok over medium–high heat, cook the paste in the oil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the squid and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until nearly tender then add the tamarind and soy mixture. Cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes or until the liquid boils and the squid is tender.
  6. Transfer the squid to a bowl using a slotted spoon, then boil the mixture in the wok until it is reduced and very thick. Return the squid to the wok with the cherry tomatoes, toss to coat then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the lime cheeks for squeezing over.
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again