Cumi Bakar Saus Padang: Grilled Squid in Padang Sauce

Cumi bakar saus Padang is a popular dish in seafood restaurants all over Indonesia. Here, fresh squid is marinated in a cooked spice paste of coconut milk, lemongrass and numerous other herbs, and then grilled.

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

This year, to celebrate Hari Raya, my big extended family decided to have a potluck BBQ party. We wanted to do something different, so instead of having a typical Hari Raya menu such as opor ayam, rendang, sambal goreng, etc, we had a BBQ. We made a list of what we wanted to have on the menu and each family contributed some items. Seafood was the most popular, so we prepared a good quantity of fish, shrimp and squid. For the children, we prepared sausages and vegetable shashlik. That was quite a fun day!

We made a few traditional marinating sauces for the seafood, and saus Padang or Padang sauce was one of them. You can’t go wrong with saus Padang! It’s very flavourful and goes pretty well with all kinds of seafood such as fish, crab, squid, shrimp, etc.  

Saus Padang is one of the most popular ways of preparing seafood in Indonesia. It’s a crowd favourite, along with saus lada hitam (black pepper sauce). When you go to a seafood restaurant in Indonesia, you’ll be given a list of marinades to choose from; saus Padang and saus lada hitam are sure to be on the list.


Saus Padang is prepared using a mix of blended spices and herbs, just like many other Padang dishes. The sauce can be used for either simmering or grilling. When grilling, the spices are sauteed until well-cooked, and then smeared on the seafood using a brush to marinate it before grilling. This method really brings out the fragrance and the flavour of the spice blend.

Cumi bakar saus Padang is a delicious way of preparing squid. Though complex, the sauce beautifully complements the texture of the squid and makes it burst with flavour. It’s a flavour one will remember even after the dish is long gone. 

On this occasion, we grilled the squid using both hot charcoal and a cast iron grill pan. Both tasted wonderful. Be careful of the timing, so as not to overcook it. During the grilling process, basting the squid with extra sauce helps keep it moist. 

On a final note, I’d like to thank my sister, Novel, who not only helped me with shopping, preparing and cooking this wonderful dish, but also finishing it. We had a great laugh over how a food blogger actually eats the food after the photo session and really enjoyed the moment. 

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Cumi Bakar Saus Padang: Grilled Squid in Padang Sauce

Cumi Bakar Saus Padang: Grilled Squid in Padang Sauce

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Fish & Seafood
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Halal


Cumi bakar saus Padang is a popular dish in seafood restaurants all over Indonesia. Here, fresh squid is marinated in a cooked spice paste of coconut milk, lemongrass and numerous other herbs, and then grilled.


  • 500 gr squid
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 big red chillies, chopped
  • 5 bird’s eye chillies
  • 6 shallots, peeled, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 2 cm ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 cm galangal, chopped
  • 1 salam leaf, shredded
  • 1 lemongrass, use only the white part, chopped
  • 2 lime leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 65 ml instant coconut milk
  • 5 tbsp cooking oil


  1. Clean and wash the squid thoroughly. Remove the bone, the thin skin membranes and ink sack.
  2. Lay the squid flat on the chopping board and slice the top side of the squid, leaving the bottom side intact.
  3. Put the squid in a bowl and sprinkle it with the lemon juice and salt. Set aside.

    sprinkle it with the lemon juice and salt

  4. Using a food processor, blend into a fine paste: big red chilies, bird’s eye chilies, shallots, garlic, ginger, coriander, galangal, salam leaf, lime leaves and lemongrass.

  5. Using a wok or a saucepan, heat the cooking oil over medium high heat and sauté the spice paste, white pepper powder and salt until fragrant, around 4 minutes.

  6. Add the coconut milk, stir and continue cooking until the moisture is reduced, around 4 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat.sauté the spice paste
  8. Wash the squid thoroughly and pat dry.
  9. Mix the squid in the spice mixture.
  10. Grill the squid for around 4 minutes each side until done.

    Grill the squid

  11. Serve immediately.

    Serve the cumi bakar saus padang


  • The number of chillies given in this recipe is just for guidance, and will result in a medium level of spiciness by Indonesian standards. Feel free to adjust the amount of chillies according to your preference. 

Keywords: Coconut, corainder, chilies, spicy, lemongrass

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