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Sambal tumis squid recipe

By Debbie Teoh
7 December 2010 10:25 AM Updated 07 Dec 2010

Sambal tumis squid recipe

Compared to the Indonesian favourite sambal balado, sambal tumis is slightly more robust in flavour due to the addition of the pungent belachan. The taste is further enhanced by ingredients such as candlenut and palm sugar. This sambal goes extremely well with seafood such as squid or prawns.

Serves 4-6


Sambal tumis:

5-6 tablespoons cooking oil

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 big onion, peeled and wedged

400g squid, cleaned and cut into 3cm pieces

1 large tomato, cut into wedges

1 tablespoon tamarind paste mixed with 2 tablespoons water

250ml water

1-2 teaspoons palm sugar or dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt or to taste


Spice paste:

8 shallots (100g), peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon belachan or dried shrimp paste

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

12 stalks dried chillies, soaked and cut

2 candlenuts



 1. To clean squid, gently pull the head and tentacles away from the body. Pull out the quill or backbone from inside the body and discard the entrails.

2. Cut the tentacles from the head just below the eyes. Throw the head away. Pull off the side wings and the fine membrane from the body.

3. Cut into 3cm lengths, set aside.


    Spice paste:

    1. Using an electric blender, finely grind the spice paste till fine.

    2. Heat oil in a cooking pan or wok and sauté spice paste until paste is fragrant. Stir continuously to prevent burning.

    3. Remove from pan and leave spice paste aside.


      Sambal tumis squid:

      1. In a heated wok, add oil and stir-fry big onion until onion browns lightly.

      2. Add sautéed spice paste, tomato, tamarind juice and water and simmer until tomatoes are well stewed.

      3. Add squid and stir fry until just opaque. Do not overcook squid, as they will become chewy.

      4. Lastly add sugar and salt to taste and turn off heat.


      With more than 10 years experience in the food industry, Debbie is a true-bred Nyonya who hails from Malacca. She is the author of numerous cookbooks, including “UNDERWRAPS” by Marshall Cavendish Cuisine and “Penang Food Guide & Cookbook” and “Nyonya Flavours” by Star Publications. Debbie develops and tests recipes for companies, and contributes to magazines. She is also a Nyonya food consultant for Tourism Malaysia.

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