Sotong Masak Hitam, Squid Cooked in Its Own Ink

Squid ink is all the rage – squid ink pasta, squid ink pizza – but my favourite way to eat it might be this dish. Squid stir-fried in a spice paste and seasoned with tamarind and gula melaka for a sweet and tangy flavour. Delicious with rice!

Sotong Masak Hitam

Serves 4

For the rempah:

15g dried chillies, soaked and drianed

265g red onion

45g garlic cloves

30g ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1. Grind all to a fine paste.

For the squid:

800g squid

1. Pull the head and tentacles of the squid out from the body.

2. Remove the transparent quill from the body.

3. Rinse the insides of the squid’s body thoroughly to get rid of any sand or dirt

4. Remove the ink sac and set aside.

5. Cut under the eyes of the squid. Keep the tentacles, and pierce the eyes, squeezing any ink into the bowl with the ink sac. Discard the rest.

6. Slice the body into rings and keep with the tentacles.

For the sotong masak hitam:

100g oil

Rempah (see above)

2 stalks lemongrass, lower white portion only, bruised

1 red chilli, sliced diagonally

Sliced squid and tentacles

4 kaffir lime leaves

Squid ink and ink sacs extracted from the squid

1 tablespoon tamarind pulp

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons gula melaka

240g water (optional)

1 red onion, sliced

1 red chilli and 1 green chilli, sliced diagonally (for garnish)

1. Heat oil and fry rempah and lemongrass until fragrant and darkened in colour.

2. Add the chillies, squid and kaffir lime leaves.

3. Fry for a minute, then add the squid ink and ink sacs. Fry until the mixture turns black.

4. Add the tamarind pulp, salt and gula melaka. Taste and adjust seasoning.

5. Adjust to desired consistency with water.

6. Add the onion and cook one last minute or until slightly wilted.

13. Scatter over most of the sliced chilli and transfer the mixture to a dish

14. Top with the remaining sliced chilli and serve with steamed rice



Pamelia Chia is a Singaporean chef and the author of the bestselling cookbook ‘Wet Market to Table’. After graduating with an Honor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from the National University of Singapore in 2014, she decided to trade a food scientist’s lab coat in for chef whites. She has since been working in restaurants in Singapore and Melbourne, including Candlenut and Carlton Wine Room. Her deepest interest being the preservation and celebration of Singaporean food heritage and culture, she started Singapore Noodles in 2020 as a platform to share about Singaporean food to a global audience. Find her on Instagram @pameliachia.

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