Squid in Ink Sauce
Cumi Masak Hitam (Squid in Ink Sauce) is one of Indonesian classic dishes. For those who are not grew up with whole squids that still have ink inside theirs body, this dish might look unpleasant in appearance due to its color. But this is a hell of a dish. It tastes so good, that you will be begging for more as long as you have fresh squids that still have ink sac inside their body.

I don’t know the origin of this Cumi Masak Hitam but I have eaten as far as I can recall my childhood memory. The reason being is because I often see a Portuguese imported canned squid in its own ink sauce that has some spices including chili peppers which you can see the picture on the bottom.

I figured out that Spanish and Portuguese have a similar classic dish which is known as Chipirones en su Tinta in Spanish and Lulas com Tinta in Portuguese. Both those Spanish and Portuguese sentences are translated as Squid in Ink Sauce or Squid with Ink. Tinta itself means ink in Indonesian, Spanish as well as Portuguese.

Every household in Indonesia has its own recipe of Cumi Masak Hitam. This is what I get from my family’s helper whom my late mom passed down the recipe to.

Cumi Masak Hitam
Indonesian Squid in Ink Sauce

250 grams whole baby squids
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 shallots, finely sliced
12 bird eyes chilies
5-cm galangal, bruised
1 large tomato (I prefer use the green one), quartered
kosher salt to taste
ground white pepper to taste
250 mL water or more

Clean the baby squids and remove the cuttlebone from their body by pulling off. Some people like to take the tentacles off and stuff them inside of the tubes. Be careful to not destroy the ink sac. But my family’s helper loves to leave the tentacles attach. To newbies who are willing to learn more on how to clean squids, there is a useful link that found.

Marinate for 15 minutes with lime juice then rinse.

In a pan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low and simmer until squids are cooked and tender. Season with kosher salt and ground white pepper. Taste and remove from heat. Add more water if you need as cooking squids is a bit tricky. Be sure to read the tips on how to get NOT RUBBERY SQUIDS.


  1. Oh my this squid dish is delicious! Your Indonesian version is so similar to the Filipino “Adobong Pusit” we make. I’m not brave enough to try and extract the ‘ink’ part. But if anyone serves this to me, I’m first to finish it up. Thanks for sharing the recipe ~ must try your version! Glad for the blog-visit, Pepy!


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