Craving some spicy comfort food? Here's how to make sambal sotong

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Make this spicy hawker favourite easily at home with this recipe!

For most of us who aren’t super-rich, hawker food like seafood barbeque is the best way to keep our wallets and tummies happy with a group of friends. One of these barbeque dishes we share between family and friends is the iconic sambal sotong. This comfort food brings back memories of good times, whether in a warm hawker centre or by the beach.

It turns out that Sambal Sotong isn’t that hard to make. No, seriously. Anyone can easily make it at home and have their family and friends over for a good home dinner.

The secret? Nail the Sambal and get the freshest sotong.

When Sambal isn’t just chilli

The perfect sambal sauce isn’t just a mere chilli sauce. It’s not just spicy: there should be a some sweetness and saltiness in the soft red mixture. It also smells much more aromatic, too. Surprisingly, fried sambal paste is incredibly easy to make, doesn’t use expensive ingredients, and lasts long, as we’ve outlined in our previous article.

And it’s not just a mix that you use once and get bored of. Whether as a side to rice and meat or used for a main dish, sambal does a great job of making things taste more than just spicy, including sotong.

Here’s your first step in hosting a Seafood barbeque dinner at home - a quick and easy sambal sotong recipe.

Sambal Sotong Recipe

Serves 2

Here's what you need

  • 300 grams of Sotong (squid)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 100 grams of Sambal Sauce

Optional: Additional Seasoning

  • 1-2 teaspoons of Fish sauce or salt (for added saltiness)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Sugar (granulated, brown, or palm) or tamarind juice (for added sweetness)
  • Water (to make the sauce thinner)
  • 1-2 Bay Leaves (for added flavour)

Here's how to make it

  • Make the sambal sauce first (see our past recipe for a step-by-step guide) and set aside 70 grams for this recipe.
  • Cut the squid and rinse it under clean water. Take your squid cut its mantle (the part above the eye) it into rings, then rinse these rings under clean water, drain and pat dry.
  • Prepare the aromatics by mincing the garlic and slicing onions pole-to-pole.

Stir Fry and Simmer

  • Stir fry the aromatics till it is cooked halfway. Heat your frying pan with medium heat.
  • Once the pan starts to smoke, add some vegetable oil and swirl the pan so that the oil is evenly spread.
  • Add the minced garlic and chopped onion and stir fry until the onion slices soften and you can smell the garlic aroma.
  • Add the squid, but only cook it halfway through. Once the onions and garlic become fragrant, add the squid. Stir fry it for a minute or so until it is half cooked, then set aside the squid, garlic and onions.
  • Cook the sambal sauce and mix. Re-oil the frying pan lightly, and add the 70g of prepared sambal sauce. Stir fry for a minute or so until the oil and sauce are two different layers. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a bit of water to make it easier to coat the squid. Taste the sauce and season (sugar, salt, fish sauce, tamarind juice) to your liking.
  • Cook the sambal sauce with the squid. Turn on the gas and add back the squid, garlic and onions you set aside.
  • Mix the squid and sambal sauce so that it is well coated.
  • Simmer the mixture and serve. Add 50ml of water and cover your frying pan. Let the sambal simmer for 3 minutes, then take it off the stove.

Not all dishes that you enjoy while eating out are impossible to make at home, as the Sambal Sotong has proven.

In fact, there are tons of recipes that are easy and fast, all the while ending up with restaurant-quality food. Curious to give it a shot? Try making some Nasi Lemak or Laksa in your very own kitchen!

How did you like this Sambal Sotong recipe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to like and share your results on Facebook and Instagram!

Read also: 7 flavourful Sambal dishes to satisfy your chilli cravings