Few Malaysian meals are complete without sambal, a broad term for a range of chilli-based condiments and sides. Sambals served with rice can also constitute a standalone meal, such as this spicy squid sambal.

Serves
4

Preparation

30min

Cooking

25min

Skill level

Easy
By
Average: 3.2 (29 votes)
Yum

Ingredients

  • 8 dried red chillies
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste (belachan) (see Note)
  • 2 red bird’s-eye chillies, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 10 (150 g) Asian red eschalots (see Note), roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp (block form) (see Note)
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp grated palm sugar
  • 800 g whole squid, cleaned
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • lime wedges and nasi kunyit, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Soaking time 30 minutes

Soak dried chillies in boiling water for 30 minutes or until softened, then drain. Meanwhile, wrap shrimp paste in foil and cook in a small, heavy-based frying pan over medium-low heat for 4 minutes each side or until fragrant (open foil to check). Transfer to a food processor with bird’s-eye chillies, ginger, lemongrass, eschalots and garlic, and process to a smooth paste. Set aside.

Meanwhile, soften tamarind pulp in 60 ml boiling water in a bowl for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Add soy sauce and sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Cut squid into 5 cm x 2.5 cm pieces. Cut tentacles in half if large.

Heat oil in a large wok or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add reserved chilli paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add squid and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until almost tender, then add tamarind mixture. Cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes or until liquid comes to the boil and squid is tender. Remove squid with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Bring liquid to the boil, then cook for 3 minutes or until reduced and very thick. Return squid to wok with tomatoes, toss to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Serve with lime and nasi kunyit (turmeric rice).

 

Note

• Shrimp paste (belachan) and Asian red eschalots are available from Asian food shops.
• Tamarind pulp (block form), available from Asian food shops, is a block of tamarind including the pulp and sometimes the seeds. This requires soaking to soften the pulp.

 

Photography by Steve Brown. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman Lloyd.