Sambal Sotong (Chili Fried Squid)

Ingredients :
  • 500g (~1 lb) small squid (sotong)
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, peeled and sliced
  • 4 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 dried red chilies, soaked and drained
  • 4 candlenuts
  • 1 tsp blachan (dried shrimp paste)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar

Method :
  1. Clean the squid. 
  2. Either:
  3. Cut the tubes lengthwise and use the tip of the knife to lightly score a crisscross pattern on the surface, without cutting right through. Cut into 5cm squares and set aside, with the tentacles. 
  4. or:
  5. Cut the squid into small rings.

  6. Soak the tamarind pulp in 120ml (1/2 cup) boiling water and leave for 5 minutes. Knead to dissolve, then strain the tamarind water and set aside. 
  7. Grind, pound or blend the lemongrass, garlic, drained chilies, blachan, candlenuts and onion together to make a paste. 
  8. Heat a wok until hot, then add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chili paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes. 
  9. Add the tamarind water, salt and sugar and stir-fry for 3 minutes. 
  10. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are well stewed.
  11. Add the squid meat and tentacles and stir-fry over high until just cooked but still tender, usually indicated by the squid turning opaque. Don't overcook.
  12. Serve this spicy, substantial sambal with a bowl of steamed rice and a platter of stir-fried green beans.