This is my recipe for the Sambal Sotong Kering or Dried Cuttlefish Sambal. These dried cuttlefish are usually available at any Asian or Chinese grocers. It has to be soaked in water for at least 24 to 36 hours before cooking. However, here, I had used presoaked cuttlefish that was conveniently available from a seafood store in Chinatown.
For those of you who are interested, here is my little tip on how to make a good sambal every time. Whenever you cook sambal, you must use sufficient or extra oil and cook with a low heat while still ensuring you can hear the sizzling sound. You will know it’s ready when the unmistakable spicy sambal smell fills your kitchen. It will turn deep red in color and the oil will separate from the sambal. At this stage, if there’s too much oil, you simply discard the excess oil before serving. Remember, always serve sambal warm or at a room temperature. That’s it, simple, right? :-)
Sambal Sotong Kering-Dried Cuttlefish Sambal
2 Large Presoaked Dried Cuttlefish, cut into 1 ½ to 2 inches segments
30 g Fried Anchovies
100 g Roasted Peanuts, coarsely chopped
6 Tbsp Sugar
30 g Tamarind Paste, soaked with 2 ½ Cup Water, discard solids
6 to 8 Tbsp Peanut Oil
35-40 g Dried Red Chilies, soaked in boiling water, drained and ground
150 g Shallots, peeled, chopped and ground
1 ½ tsp Roasted Shrimp Paste, ground
Cook the chili paste with the oil on moderate heat until fragrant.
Add the cuttlefish, peanuts, tamarind juice, sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Then mix in the fried anchovies and continue to simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes until the cuttlefish turns soft.
Season the mixture with additional sugar or salt if necessary. Serve at room temperature.