This Vietnamese-style grilled squid with sate sauce is spicy and aromatic. You can make it with a stovetop grill pan or with an outdoor grill.
We call this dish mực nướng sa tế in Vietnamese. It is a quick and easy dish to add to your family dinner as well as your BBQ party.
For this spicy grilled squid recipe, you will need two main ingredients:
- squid (or calamari): if possible, use squids that are very fresh. They shouldn’t have any unpleasant fishy smell. Frozen squids are fine as long as they are frozen right after being caught to preserve the freshness.
- sate sauce (sốt sa tế): you can find my homemade sate sauce recipe here. This red sauce is spicy, flavorful and is made from chili peppers and aromatics such as lemongrass, garlic and shallots.
I prefer to cut the squid along the tube and then score it in a crisscross pattern for this dish. It will allow the squid to soak up flavors better and look prettier in the final dish.
You can watch my video in the steamed squid recipe to see how to clean whole squid and score it. It is totally fine if you don’t want to score the squid. I sometimes skip this step when I’m short on time.
Once the squid has been prepared, toss with the sate sauce and give it some time to marinate.
How to Make Vietnamese Grilled Squid
It doesn’t take much time to grill squid. First, heat your grill pan or outdoor grill until it is very hot and oil the grates. I use my Staub grill pan which is great for indoor grilling (some examples are grilled pork chops or pork skewers). Once the grill is hot, place the marinated squid on the grill.
The squid will tend to curl, so try to use a pair of tongs to keep them flat as much as you can. Grill each side for 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness, basting once before the squid is almost ready.
Once the squid is fully cooked, remove from the grill and cut into bite-sized pieces. Be careful not to overcook or it may become rubbery.
Traditionally, we serve Vietnamese grilled calamari with a mixture of salt and pepper dissolved in lime juice on the side as a dipping sauce. You can enjoy the dish on its own with a cold drink, or with rice or some veggie sticks.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Spicy Grilled Squid with Sate Sauce
- 10 oz cleaned squids (about 14-16oz/400g of whole squids that haven't been cleaned)
- 3-4 tablespoons sate sauce (click the link for my homemade sate sauce recipe)
- cooking oil
For the Dipping Sauce (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- a lime wedge
- If the squids haven't been cleaned, cut each squid along the body tube, then grasp the head and pull away from the body. Remove the cartilage in the body and peel the skin membrane away. Cut the tentacles from the head just below the eyes. Discard the innards, head and beak, reserve the tentacles.
- Make sure to pat the squid dry. Lay the squid body flat on a cutting board with the inside surface facing you. Use a sharp knife to score diagonal cuts in a crisscross pattern, about ½-¾ inch apart, on the inside surface. Be careful not to cut all the way through. It is fine if you don't want to score the squids.
- Place the squids and tentacles in a mixing bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the sate sauce for basting later. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce to the mixing bowl and toss with the squids. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes (or longer if you have time).
- Heat you grill pan (or you outdoor grill) over medium to medium-high heat until it is very hot. Oil the grates, then place the squids inside surface up on the grill and cook for a minute. Increase the heat if needed. The squid will tend to curl, so try to use a pair of tongs to keep them flat as much as you can.
- Flip and grill the other side for a minute. Baste the squids with the remaining sauce, then flip and grill for up to a minute, or until they are fully cooked.
- To serve: cut the squids into bite-sized pieces. Add salt and pepper to a small dipping bowl and squeeze lime juice into the bowl. Serve right away.