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Sambal Sotong Kering-Dried Cuttlefish Sambal

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 pre-soaked 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? :-)

*This is an updated post with a video cooking guide. (Previously posted on 04/16/10)

Sambal Sotong Kering-Dried Cuttlefish Sambal


2 Large Pre-soaked Dried Cuttlefish, cut into 2 inches segments
100 g Roasted Peanuts, pounded
60 to 80 grams of Gula Melaka/Palm Sugar
30 g Tamarind Paste, soaked with 1 1/2 Cups of Water, discard solids
1/2 Cup of Peanut Oil
Sea Salt, to taste

Sambal Paste
35-40 g Dried Red Chilies, cut into smaller pieces, soaked in boiling water, drained & drain well
3 Tbsp Dried Anchovies, washed & drain well
150 g Shallots, peeled, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1 ½ tsp Roasted Shrimp Paste/Belacan


Combine all the sambal paste ingredients in a food processor bowl. Then process until you have a fine paste. Heat peanut oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add sambal paste. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Add cuttlefish and mix well. Then adjust the heat to medium-high. Add tamarind juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Then mix in the peanut and palm sugar, and continue to simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cuttlefish turns soft. (Make sure to give it a good stir every now then, to prevent the sambal from sticking to the bottom of the pot).

Season the mixture with additional sugar or salt if necessary. Serve at room temperature.


  1. could you use fresh cuttlefish in this recipe or does dried have a different flavor/ texture?

  2. @Lauren (Healthy Delicious): The dried cuttlefish works better with this recipe and yes the texture and flavors are different from the fresh one.

  3. thanks for the recipe!

    I'm going to cook for it!

  4. This is great. Thanks for the tip on cooking sambal.


  5. I just made Sambal last week. I wish I'd read this first (even though mine did turn out tasty). :)


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