Sambal Sotong/ Spicy Squid

Sambal Sotong is a dish cooked with fresh squid (I used octopus) in a classic Malay sauce; a hearty spicy sauce made with chillies, onions, garlic, tomatoes, tamarind paste and dried shrimp paste also known as Belacan.┬áSambal Sotong is also a popular accompaniment to Singaporean local dish – Nasi Lemak.


  • 800 g Squid/ Octopus (cleaned and cut)
  • 2 Tomatoes (chopped)
  • 4 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Onion (sliced)
  • 2 Red bird’s eye chilli
  • 1 1/2 tsp Palm sugar or Dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Tamarind pulp
  • 4 tbsp Chilli paste
  • 2 tsp Shrimp paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp Dark soy sauce
  • 1 cup Water
  • Vegetable oil


  • 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.
  • Heat oil in a large wok or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and onions and stir fry for about 5-6 minutes.
  • Now add in the tomatoes and saute until it softens. Mix in the shrimp paste, chilli paste, tamarind liquid and water. Simmer till the sauce thickens.
  • Add the squid/ octopus and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, make sure not to over cook them.
  • Transfer it to a serving dish and let it sit for 5-8 minutes allowing the squid to absorb all the flavours. Serve with lime and turmeric rice (nasi kunyit).

Sambal Sotong

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