Squid In Clove Sauce

This is an adaptation of a dish from Madura, an Indonesian island off the northeastern coast of Java. Cloves are an important export for this small island, so it’s not surprising that the spice would find its way into the traditional cuisine. If you don’t have squid readily available, the recipe can be made with shrimp as well. Serve over steamed rice ~ I chose Basmati, although I’m sure Jasmine or plain long grain white would be equally delicious.

Squid In Clove Sauce

Squid In Clove Sauce

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This traditional Indonesian recipe uses cloves, nutmeg and tomatoes to add spicy, pungent flavors to stir-fried squid.


  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha, Asian hot sauce
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 lb cleaned squid, tubes and/or tentacles
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 or 5 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped


  • In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, sriracha, water, and sugar. Set aside.
  • Slice the squid into 1/2-inch strips or rings. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the squid, season with salt and pepper, and stir-fry just until the it turns opaque, about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Quickly remove the squid from the pan and keep warm.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft, about 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and soy sauce mixture. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then return the squid to the pan.
  • Mix the cornstarch and water in a small dish and stir into the squid mixture. Cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the scallions.
  • Spoon the squid over servings of steamed rice and top with fresh cilantro.

Tips for Making This Recipe

Recipe Notes:

Squid can become overcooked rather quickly, so try to work fast to ensure that it remains tender.
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