This is a hot sambal, popular in Malaysia and Indonesia. Its heat can be adjusted by adding more sambal ulek or chilli powder (or less, for timid tastebuds).
Since it is eaten in small amounts, it will serve 6-8.
500 g/1 lb small squid
2 onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried shrimp paste
1 stem lemon grass, finely sliced
2 tablespoons sambal ulek
or 1 tablespoon hot chilli powder
3 tablespoons tamarind purée
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika, optional
Prepare squid as described in Squid with Pork Stuffing. Slice body across into rings.
In an electric blender or food processor grind onions, garlic, shrimp paste, lemon grass, sambal ulek and tamarind to a puree.
Heat oil in a wok or frying pan and fry the blended mixture, stirring, until it is thick and oil appears around edges. Add sugar and, if a redder colour is required, the paprika. Stir in squid and cook uncovered until squid is tender, adding a little water if necessary. Cook until gravy thickens again.
Serve as an accompaniment with rice and other dishes.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)