Kare Cumi (Indonesian squid coconut curry) Recipe

Kare Cumi is the Indonesian variant of Kare Kare, a signature dish of Philipino cuisine. Philipino Kare Kare is famous for its peanut sauce, which is made of peanut butter, ground toasted rice and annatto seed extract and then cooked with variety of local vegetables and meat (usually ox tail or ox tripe). Apart from the same name, Indonesian Kare Cumi is totally different from Philipino Kare Kare.

Indonesian Kare Cumi, squid coconut curry with spring onions

Kare Cumi history

There are several stories about the origin of the Philipino Kare Kare. One suggestion is that it has a Japanese influence as the name “Kare Kare” is derived from the Japanese word “Kare” which is Japanese for curry. No one is sure but it could be the case that due to trading between Indonesia and Philippines Indonesians became familiar with this curry. Of course they made their own version of Kare and instead of ox meat they used seafood like (baby) squid.

Kare Cumi, Indonesian squid coconut curry ingredients

How to make Kare Cumi

You probably won't find (baby) squid at your local supermarket. Find a good fishmonger in your area or go to Vishandel Tel near Nieuwmarkt to buy good quality baby squids. Once you have the baby squids (sepia inktvis in Dutch) put them in a bowl and marinate with juice of one lime for half an hour.

Baby squids for Kare Cumi, Indonesian squid coconut curry

Of course we start preparing this dish by making the spice paste (bumbu). Roughly chop shallot, garlic and red chillies. Peel and grate the ginger, omit the filamentous parts. Remove ends of lemongrass stalk, remove outer layers and finely chop the tender inner white part. Remove the veins of the kaffir lime leaves and chop them finely as well. Combine in a food processor with garam massala, ground coriander, ground galangal, ground turmeric and salt and pepper. Pulse until a smooth paste forms, this is your bumbu spice paste.

Kare Cumi, Indonesian squid coconut curry spice paste (bumbu)

Heat oil in a wok over medium-low heat and fry the spice paste (bumbu) for 10 to 15 minutes while stirring now and then. Chop palm sugar and add to wok. Add coconut milk and check whether sugar is dissolved.

Kare Cumi, Indonesian squid curry spice paste with coconut milk

Drain baby squids and add to wok. Simmer for 5 minutes until the baby squids are cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Kare Cumi, Indonesian squid coconut curry cooking

Serve in a bowl with finely chopped spring onion and steamed white rice (Nasi Putih).

Serving Kare Cumi, Indonesian squid curry with nasi putih white rice and lime


Ingredients for 4 people

For the spice paste (bumbu):

  • 3 small or 1 large shallot

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 3 red chillies (lombok merah)

  • 5cm ginger, peeled and grated

  • 1 lemongrass stalk (sereh)

  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (daun djeruk perut)

  • 1 tablespoon garam massala

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (ketumbar)

  • 1 tablespoon ground galangal (laos)

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (kunyit)

  • Pepper and salt to taste

For the squid:

  • 600gr baby squid

  • 1 lime

  • 300ml coconut milk

  • 40gr palm sugar (gula djawa)

  • 50ml vegetable oil (coconut, peanut, sunflower)

  • Spring onion as garnish

Instructions

  • Marinate the baby squid in juice of one lime and set aside.

  • To make the spice paste (bumbu), chop shallot, garlic and red chillies roughly. Peel and grate the ginger, omit the filamentous parts. Remove ends of lemongrass stalk, remove outer layers and finely chop the tender inner white part. Remove the veins of the kaffir lime leaves and chop them finely as well. Combine in a food processor with garam massala, ground coriander, ground galangal, ground turmeric and salt and pepper. Pulse until a smooth paste forms, this is the bumbu spice paste.

  • Heat oil in a wok over medium-low heat and fry the spice paste (bumbu) for 10 to 15 minutes while stirring now and then. Chop palm sugar and add to wok. Add coconut milk and check whether sugar is dissolved.

  • Drain baby squids and add to wok. Simmer for 5 minutes until the baby squids are cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Serve with finely chopped spring onion and steamed white rice (Nasi Putih).

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