Mom’s Dried Cuttlefish Sambal

When I was little, my mother used to cook this dish once a month on my father’s pay day. Dried cuttlefish in those days were expensive and this dish was always considered a special treat to our family. The cuttlefish needs to be soaked in “air kapur” (lime stone paste water) overnight so that it will swell. These days you can just buy them in the market ready to be cooked. I love the presence of ground peanuts as well as the sweetness from this sambal. It is great with nasi lemak.
Mom's Dried Cuttlefish Sambal
Cooking Time
40 mins


  • 4 large dried cuttlefish that has been soaked overnight, drained, then cut into bite sizes
  • 40 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water then drained
  • 15 shallots
  • 1 ts belacan (roasted shrimp paste)
  • 1 cup peanuts, roasted and pounded
  • Sugar to taste
  • Tamarind water to taste
  • Oil for frying


  1. Pound the dried red chillies, belacan and shallots finely.
  2. Heat up some oil and cook the chili paste on moderate heat until fragrant.
  3. Add in the cuttlefish, salt, sugar and some water. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes until the cuttlefish turns soft then add in the tamarind water and ground peanuts. Cook until the mixture has thickened up.

Note: According to mom, if tamarind water is added in too early, the cuttlefish will turn out too tough and chewy.