Recipe: Squid in Black Ink (Sotong Masak Hitam)

The origin of Squid in Black Ink is unclear, but it might be a common dish for the Peranakan, Malay or Indonesian households, and each of them will most probably have their own style of preparing this dish. I always love to know the origin of dishes, so that when I prepare them it is more meaningful. But if not, this dish will still certainly satisfy your taste buds and tummies.

This dish is likened to the ugly duckling, not a pretty sight but the flavour was robust with the mixture of herbs and spices coupled with the tamarind juice. The subtle taste of the squid ink gave a little twist to its flavour. Squid ink is said to be rich in iron and antioxidants which adds as an incentive to try this dish.

It was definitely not love at first sight for my son and we had to coax him to try it. Once he took his first bite, he went back for more…. the rest was history.

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Serves 4 persons


2 large squid, cleaned and washed (*retain the Ink!!)

1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced thinly

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

3 stalks Lemongrass (Serai), cut into half and slightly smashed

3 red chillies, seeds removed and chopped (add more chilies if you want it spicier)

2 cm ginger, minced

4 to 5 kaffir leaves, slightly crushed

3 tablespoons tamarind/assam juice

Some water

Salt to taste

Sugar to taste

Pepper to taste

1½ to 2 tablespoons cooking oil


  1. Wash and cut squid tubes into 1 cm rings.
  2. Heat cooking oil in a wok.
  3. Add in garlic and ginger. Stir fry till fragrant.
  4. Then add in the onions, lemongrass, chillies, and kaffir leaves. Fry for a minute or two.
  5. Add in the squid, tamarind juice and squid ink. Sauté for about 3 minutes or till the squid is firm and lightly cooked through.
  6. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Mix well.
  7. Serve immediately with rice.


Note from Mummy’s Kitchen:

  1. To collect the ink, carefully dislodge the head & tentacles from the body. The ink sacs are the small tear-shaped silvery-looking pouches. Carefully break the sacs and gather the ink in a bowl. Avoid making a mess otherwise it is quite a handful to clean up.

Mummy's Kitchen

Hi! My name is Josephine Go. I blog at in a segment called Mummy’s Kitchen. I love to use fresh and natural ingredients in my cooking to promote healthy eating. Some of my recipes may not be in line with the traditional methods of cooking to the extent that some of the ingredients are different, but hopefully new recipes are being created in my style. I certainly hope that what I do will help guide kitchen first-timers on how to cook their first meal as well as further equip kitchen veterans with new recipes. My loving husband and two wonderful children are my best guinea pigs and critics. They have enjoyed (or endured) the food that has been served to them for all these years. Mind you, I did not know how to cook or ever knew that I could cook till I got married. So there is hope for everyone. If I can cook, you can cook. You will not know how good or talented you are until you put your hand in the plough.

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