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Sambal Sotong

Sambal Sotong
Sambal Sotong (Squid), served atop warm fluffy rice … shiok!

A few years ago, my buddy Liv introduced me to this tasty dish at a local zi char store. This dish is not on their menu, but Liv’s friends had asked the owner to whip this up because apparently this one-dish meal version (served with rice) is available upon request at many zi char stores. I was sinced hooked. Very very hooked. For those of you who love it hot, I think you will love this dish as much as I do too! I tried to go back to the store a few times after that but it was always a pretty long wait. Foodie as I am, I am the more practical type so to wait excessively long for my food is not my cup of tea. So I decided to experiment in the kitchen using short cut means (bottled sambal pastes instead of grinding them from scratch) and after a while, I think I kind of got the taste … very happy with the results as well as the minimal effort needed!

Judging from the name of this dish, you can guess its Malaysian-Chinese and South East Asian origins because both ‘sambal‘ and ‘sotong’ are Malay words. Sambal is a Malay style chilli pounded with toasted shrimp paste (belacan) in a stone mortar. The word ‘sotong’ is the Malay for squid.

In our local slang, when you call someone a ‘blur sotong’, it means he or she is really ‘blur’ or muddle-headed. I must have eaten too much sotong because sotong me have forgotten to add the tomato at the end, as you can see in the photo hehe =P

(Serve 2-3)

– 1 squid (aka sotong), the white & purple type
– 3 stalks of spring onions, cut to 2-inch lengths
– 1 large red onion, cut to small wedges (or you can substitute with several shallot onions)
– tamarind paste made by dissolving 1 tsp of of assam or a small ball size of tamarind (assam) in 2-3 tbsp hot water
– 1 tsp dried basil (optional)
– 1 tomato, cut to small wedges
– 1 tbsp pre-made sambal blachan paste*
– 1 tsp pre-made blachan chilli paste*
– 1 tbsp chopped garlic
– 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil

* I used Taho, a Singapore brand, and I am so addicted to their chilli. Good stuff!

1. Clean the squid by laying it flat on the chopping board and gently pulling out the head in one direction. Empty the cavity of the squid. Wash it clean. I discarded the head (up to you) except for a small portion of the tentacles. Slice the squid to thin rings.
2. In a heated wok, saute the garlic and basil till they are fragrant.
3. Add the thick spring onions stalks (white part) and onion and stir fry till the onions are starting to caramelize.
4. Add the sambal blachan and blachan chilli pastes and stir fry evenly.
5. Add the squid slices and stir fry for a minute. Thicken the sauce with the tamarind paste. Add the rest of the spring onions.
6. Stir fry for another 3 minutes or so, till all the squid are cooked. Do not overcook the squid as they will become chewy. Toss in the tomato wedges and mix in evenly. Serve with warm rice.

Sambal Sotong


If you like this recipe, you should also check out my other recipe for :

Stir-fried Lala Clams with Blachan Chilli (see photo below)

Leave a Comment

46 Responses to “Sambal Sotong”

  1. Rei — April 11, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

    Hi Wiffy, I have an award on my blog for you to claim. Hop on by!


  2. pixen — April 12, 2009 @ 11:08 am

    That’s what I’m craving today at this 5.10 am!!!!! So scrumptious! I ate before from a Malay economy rice seller that used brown squid cooked in the same way as yours. Sometimes she used the cuttlefish instead. My preferences still the fresh squid and cuttlefish.


  3. mikky — April 12, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

    what a meal… happy easter… :)


  4. tigerfish — April 12, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

    I seldom cook sotong cos I never go to the wet market. And my thinking is that sotong in the supermarket may not be that fresh? :O

    Wow, that’s a lot of garlic!


    • wiffy replied: — April 13th, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

      I got my sotong from ntuc supermarket, the area where they lay out the fresh fish and seafood on ice and weighed. I reckon that isn’t much different from wet market ;)


  5. lk — April 13, 2009 @ 1:19 am

    Looks so appetizing! I am craving for one now!!!!


  6. Selba — April 13, 2009 @ 10:39 am

    It looks so yummy! Would love to try it :)


  7. didally — April 13, 2009 @ 11:57 am

    Yummy! I buy store bought sambal to cook my kangkong. :-)


  8. Edith — April 13, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

    Hi, You have a fantastic and beautiful blog. Great job.

    Thanks for dropping by my humble blog.


  9. Evan — April 14, 2009 @ 1:09 am

    that looks really savory & tasty! i LURVE sambal sotong, everytime will order whenever i’m at those bbq seafood stall, but the portion is always so little and sometimes oily :(

    talking abt sambal, i wanna try making those sambal petai beans with prawns or ikan bilis :p


    • wiffy replied: — April 17th, 2009 @ 11:32 am

      Can’t wait to see your sambal creations posted on your blog :-)


  10. Big Boys Oven — April 14, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

    hehehheheh thanks for the compliments! I love you photosmay I ask what lightings did you use?
    Sambal looks awesome, got to send myself home for dinner now, beh ta han!


    • wiffy replied: — April 17th, 2009 @ 11:31 am

      I used an external flash and also brighten it in photoshop ;)