I just found out that calamari and squid are different animal. I always thought that squid is the name for the uncooked animal, while calamari is name for the dish. It said that calamari is more expensive and have more tender flesh.  In Indonesia we also have two similar and often mixed for each other: cumi-cumi and sotong. As I dig more about this two, I come to conclusion that cumi-cumi is squid, while sotong is calamari.

The ingredient I used was actually squid. But I have to admit, inky squid doesn’t sound too appetizing. So I stick to naming the dish inky calamari. Hehehe… Besides, the recipe will work either you use calamari or squid.

This recipe may not for everybody. Some people probably doesn’t think black broth of this dish look yummy. But for those who already tried using squid ink in cooking may agree with me that the ink actually add some umami flavor. So, when I see dark black squid dish, I start salivating.

When I visited my friend Ria, she cooked this dish for me. It was so delicious I have to collect the recipe. And now I share it to you.

I only cooked this now because I suddenly lose appetite to seafood when I got pregnant. I have no interest to eat shrimp, calamari, oyster, etc. Fish I still want to eat, but only when it fried like in fish and chips. But as my pregnancy went along, entering fifth months, my appetite for seafood came back.

The herbs and spices used in this recipe is the usual suspect in Indonesian cooking. Shallot, garlic, chili, ginger, galangal, lime leaves, bay leaves, tomato and tamarind paste that I soaked in water. I bought fresh small squid. Fresh because I wanted the ink glands intact. Small because small squid is more tender.

I left the purplish outer skin of the squid as is because I think the color is nice and I was too lazy to clean it anyway. I cut the squid into pieces. But some Indonesian home cook like to use the squid whole, especially when using small squid like I did. So, it is up to you.

The cooking process was super simple, with little bit of cooking oil, I cooked the shallot, chili, ginger, galangal, lime leaves, bay leaves until fragrant and the shallot turned more translucent. Then I added garlic and continue cooking for a minute. Next, the squid and tamarind water. Because I wanted to cook the squid just for a short time I added the tomato too. Cooking squid too long can turn it rubbery.

And that’s all.

Of course, we ate it along with warm rice. We’re Indonesian after all.. Truly simple and delicious.

Inky Calamari

Category: seafood

Inky Calamari


  • 600 gr calamari or squid, remove the beak but let the ink gland intact
  • 8 pcs shallot, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 pcs green bird eye chili, sliced
  • 3 pcs red chili pepper, sliced
  • 3 cm ginger
  • 3 cm galangal
  • 4 pcs lime leaves
  • 3 pcs bay leaves
  • 5 small tomato, cut to wedges
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind soaked in 100 ml water
  • 300 ml water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil


  1. Heat up the cooking oil
  2. Sauté shallot, bird eye chili, red chili pepper, ginger, galangal, lime leaves, bay leaves until fragrant and the shallot become more translucent
  3. Add garlic, stir and continue cooking for 1 minute
  4. Add the calamari/squid
  5. Add the tamarind water (strained) and 300 ml water
  6. Bring to boil and add tomato, salt, pepper, sugar.
  7. Cook until the calamari/squid is done.