I bought a packet of small dried squid when Brad and I were basking in the sun in the island of Langkawi, Malaysia last September. We were walking around little stalls that sold handicrafts, foodstuff and batik right by the Black Sand beach. All of a sudden it started to rain quite heavily and we ran for cover at a small bazaar nearby. We were greeted by a smiling makcik selling dried fish. We started chatting with her and she was giving us some tourist tips..you know ..where to go to have the best ikan bakar (grilled fish) and such.
One thing lead to another and she offered samples of various dried delicacies . She was beaming when Brad had a taste of everything - the various of ikan kering ( dried fish), fried and boiled tiny squids, and an assortment of keropoks (keropoks are fried chips, she had fish, yucca and taro chips). The rain stopped and we eventually headed back to our rented car laden with chips and an assortment of of dried fish and a packet of this dried squid.
I re-hydrated the squid by soaking it overnight (changed the water twice) before chopping it up to make sambal with some spicy dried chillies.
DRIED SQUID SAMBAL
This is a straight forward sambal recipe. Sambal is a spicy condiment that originates from South East Asia. It is made from chili and other ingredients. There are many versions to this and it also differs from one region to another.
12 dried chilies
1 stalk lemon grass - bruised
6 shallots-peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp belachan (shrimp paste)
1 tsp tamarind paste diluted in 1/4 cup of water
2 cups dried squid
2 Tb vegetable oil
salt to taste
1 Tb brown sugar
Soak squid overnight in cold water. Drain soaking liquid and wash it thoroughly. Cut squid pieces in half and set aside. Soak dried chilies in water for at least 3 hours or till the chilies soften.Puree softened chili, chopped shallots and belachan with 1/4 cup of water.
Heat oil over medium heat. Saute chili paste, bruised lemon grass till fragrant. Add tamarind juice, salt, sugar and drained squid. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer till the gravy thickens. This is quite spicy and that is the way I like it! Serve with steamed rice and vegetables. And don't forget to air out your house, that delicious and pungent belachan smell will linger for at least a day!