The Gilis Islands are a dreamy paradise, just a boat ride away from Bali. On this little Indonesian archipelago, there is not a motorized vehicle in sight, only cidomo - funky horse-drawn buggies.  Yes, on Gili Trawangan you can find backpackers smoking weed, flirting, and hanging out. Or like us, you can escape to the sleepy side of the island where there is nothing to do but snorkel with sea turtles, read novels, have bonfires on the beach, and watch epic sunsets. I think Gili T is my new happy place.

I've noticed that travel to remote spots often means sacrificing good eats. But at the whitewashed and stylish Gili Eco Villas, we lucked out with a gem of a cook - Pip a la Supiana, whose food wasn't just decent island fare, it was fantastic. Pip has that magic touch: with simplicity, respect of ingredients, love, and the subtlety of perfect preparation that looks effortless. Everything Pip makes is full of freshness and flavor. My kind of food. (2012: An update on Pip.... sadly, he is no longer at Gili Eco Villas.)

Pip let me join him in his kitchen one afternoon and I had so much fun.  We made fragrant yellow rice, prawn skewers on lemongrass, and this delectable squid dish. One of the best things about cooking with Pip was learning more about his palate of spices that are so different from my typical pantry staples. In my Berkeley kitchen, I tend to favor garlic, rosemary, parsley, thyme, lemon, and mint - where Pip tosses in lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, sesame, chilies, lots of lime, and honey. There is no reason why the rest of us cannot try to cook like Pip: all of his "exotic" ingredients are actually easy to find. I know I will take his cooking home with me to California.

I so enjoyed eating Pip's squid that I ordered it every night we stayed in the Gilis. I won't have the opportunity to cook this squid dish myself until we are back in California later this summer, but I couldn't wait that long to share Pip's recipe with you.

I can imagine 10 years from now coming back to Indonesia and finding Pip with a slew of successful restaurants of his own. He is that good.

(printable recipe)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 large pieces of squid
  • 1- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 more lime

For the Sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped spring onion
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and finely chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chilies (green and or red chilies of your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • garnish: sprinkling of sesame seeds

Grind garlic, ginger, and sea salt in a mortar and pestle until you have a well-blended paste. Transfer this mixture to a bowl large enough to marinate the squid. Add juice of 1/2 lime and toss the already squeezed lime into the bowl. (I love that Peep puts already juiced citrus into the marinade - a rustic alternative to adding zest.)  Add the olive oil. Stir the marinade and set aside.

Cut squid tubes open so that you have large flat pieces. Cut squid into smaller pieces (maybe 2x4 inches each) then score the squid by making shallow cuts in a grid-like pattern. Add squid to the marinade bowl, and rub marinade all over the squid especially into the scored grooves. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Chop and prep all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

After the squid has marinated for an hour or so, heat up a large skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon or two of sesame oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the squid. Squeeze in the juice of another lime over the top of the squid while it is cooking. Cook squid pieces for a few minutes on each side until done. ( I would love to try cooking this squid on our grill at home. I think the smokey flavor would be delish.)

Set aside the cooked squid. Toss all of the sauce ingredients into the already hot pan that still has the cooking juices from the squid. Stir sauce and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the flavors are released. Pour sauce over the squid, sprinkle sesame seeds over the top and serve. Yum!


  1. I looove squid but I often overcook it so I usually leave it for when we eat out. But now I want to try again and make this squid.

    Your first picture is just stunning :)

  2. Thanks Stephanie!

    I hope you'll try cooking squid again. Once you get the hang of it, it's really easy. We often roast ours in a hot oven and toss it with some herbs and bread crumbs.

    I also cannot wait to try this recipe from Pip!


    1. Hi Erin.first I would like to say so sory tnat I hvnt keep in touch with U n My blog,but Im thinking of U everyday,dreaming of my own Rest is always in my mind.I will soon send U my new recipe but I need a very best potograper as U are,he he he.i will try my best.its relly easy,yess Im agree with my Erin.roast them in hot oven n toss them with mixs herbs bread crumbs.htank U Erin,,!!!

  3. AnonymousMay 26, 2011

    Stephanie is right, your first picture took my breath away. To move from that calm and zen spot, to the bright colors, laughter and fun in Pip's eyes was so fun and flirty! Yummy squid dish with the peppers. Was the dish spicy?

  4. I didn't even know about this set of islands when I went to Bali years ago. I missed out! Especially on that Pip-a-licious food. ;)

  5. I read your posting just after dinner and confess that I was uncomfortably over-satiated at the time. That said, I found my mouth watering only moments later - both for the delectably photographed squid and the Gilis Islands! I can't wait to try my hand at this dish, and have chalked up yet another travel destination. Awesome on both accounts. Thank you for another beautiful post!

  6. I had the great pleasure to be there with E (and our kids) and the meal was perfection. Pip is a beautiful guy who makes remarkable food in extreme circumstances. Every day we ate with gusto and big smiles. E's photos will forever be treasures to me, bringing me right back to moments of such exquisite joy.

  7. AnonymousMay 26, 2011

    What a joy it is to follow your culinary adventures! I am not only in awe of your yummy eats, but your photographs could not be more beautiful! And, in truth, your entire blog exudes your unique chic-ness; your amazing style, fun spirit, aesthetic sensibility, deep love for family and friends, and creative drive to create something of substance and quality that will help others... I remain continually inspired...


  8. Wow - that squid looks so fantastic and love the look of the Eco Villas as well. So peaceful and wonderful. Might have to swing through there on our way home!! Lovely post. - Leonora

  9. Hey guys thanks for all the sweet comments!

    Leonora, must say, Gili Eco was pretty much perfection!

    Megan, wow. I am so touched by your comment. Thank you.

    P, you are such a softie!

    Douglas, Love to see you here! Sorry to temp you when you belly is so full;) You guys would love the Gilis. Tell the boys, that Otie and Lilah swam with turtles. Miss you!

    Carolyn, pip-a-licious is right:) Next time.

    Anonymous - it really wasn't too spicy, just flavorful. Thanks.


  10. wow! whatta trip you are on! i love your recipes! keep travellin' erin and bring us even more yummystuff! sandy

  11. dennis aMay 27, 2011

    i am new to this blogand it is great. a friend told me about it and now i check it out every day and tell all my pals about it. i havent made any of the recipes yet but im starting rhis weekend. thank you erin

  12. a crazed cookerMay 27, 2011

    love this exotic food!!!! thanks yummy supper. i get alot of great comments when i make stuff that you recommend

  13. What a fun island! And weren't you fortunate to find Pip? Traveling to isolated islands almost invariably means the food is disappointing. What a treasure that man is and how generous he was with his recipe and his time!
    I love squid...use it in salads all the time.

  14. E,
    have I mentioned lately how envious I am of you guys? this place looks like private paradise:)

    and I can almost smell and taste the squid, so beautifully written and photographed!

  15. I have tried squid and I always turn it into rubber. I passed this site on to Deb who adores squid so she can try it since she gets a squid craving often. She can have it more regularly if she cooks it herself.
    Beautiful pictures as always. Love the pretty leaf dish against the squid. I can feel the sand between my toes. Fantastic!

  16. Pip has such an open happy face! I think being around him would be a the look of his dish...gorgeous. dayle

  17. Yummy, YUMMY, YUM YUM! I'm always excited to find new, delicious-looking ways to cook squid. Ginger, garlic, lime combo sounds so tasty. Love the picture of Pip, especially. So warm and joyful!

  18. I hope this comment posts, because my comment on the sweet potato fries gave me trouble. Well actually Blogger did, and since it's not there I suspect it's floating around the internets somewhere!
    This dish looks incredible and I am so inspired by the colors and imagined flavors. I may have to give it a try with shrimp until I can get some decent squid.
    Safe travels to you and your family on the next leg of your journey. Literally around the world for you guys!

  19. Thanks Sandy, Dennis!

    A Crazed Cooker - always love feedback on recipes. Glad you are enjoying!

    Barbara - it really was a surprise to find Pip and his good eats. Made an amazing spot even better!

    Thanks M - it was pretty dreamy.

    GBF and Rachel - isn't Pip a charmer? Great guy and great food!

    Oli - sorry you haven't had luck with squid. Rubbery is not good;)

    Lori - weird about blogger. Who knows, right? These spices are great with shrimp - easy translation. Thanks for the well wishes. It does feel really amazing to circle the globe.

    Thanks all,

  20. I love that you just jumped in the kitchen with Gili! What a great idea. I'm always a bit too timid for that.

    Your photos looks gorgeous!

  21. Thanks Allison! I am really pretty shy myself, but it is such a blast to get into the kitchen of a great cook!
    Safe travels to you,

  22. oh Pip! We cycled together to the farmer's market of gili T and then he cooked Gautam and I the most memorable trip of our honeymoon (and maybe of our lives). his sambal is to die for. so wonderful to see his photo! Hope we'll see you at the Berkeley Farmer's markets soon Erin and family!

  23. OMG you had Pip's food?!? Too cool. Isn't he a gem?

    Hope to see you guys too. We'll be back to Berkeley soon.

    Warmest regards,

  24. yes, Pip was so great. we stayed 4 amazing days at gili eco vilas! even G cooked one night in our villa using the gorgeous red lombok chilis- they were my favorite local ingredient - sweet, with all the flavor and heat of a spicy chili, but none of the burn!

  25. Deepa - wow! I guess we really were on the same trail in Indo:) I cannot tell you how happy I was to get your comments and to know that you guys shared this experience in the Gilis and ate Pip's food. You are right those red chilies were so good.... Mmmmmm getting hungry now!

  26. AnonymousMay 28, 2011

    Beautiful food photo and tasty looking seafood.

  27. ALLIE DRAKEMay 28, 2011

    omg!!! i just made sweet potato fries...thought i knew how to make 'em, this recipe, tho simple, is THE BEST!!!!!!

  28. Mei Tang - thanks for stopping by!

    Allie, wow. thanks! so glad you liked the recipe:)


  29. That looks like a beautiful and special spot.
    And the squid sounds delicious!

  30. This looks and sounds divine. I love everything in this recipe.

    Ps- prawn skewers on lemon grass?? I just cringed with jealousy!

  31. Thanks really was an incredible experience to be there. I'll never forget the place or the flavors.

    Bakerbynature,thanks so much. Aren't those flavors yum? I'll try to share the prawn skewers on lemongrass one of these days as well - dreamy!


  32. All of this is beautiful! Love the pictures and the recipe looks absolutely divine. I'm not at home right now either and so I guess I can't make this. Sniff. :)

  33. That looks so fresh and fantastic! Thanks for sharing it, I've got to try it sometime!

  34. Bravo Pip!!
    You are a man with full of love,
    It is a pleasure to me to works with a brilian chef, everyone was happy to enjoy their food :)
    two tomb up!!

    Love Pip

  35. AnonymousJune 06, 2011

    Pip is magic !!!

  36. Terrific portraiture of your restauranteur pal Pip. And what a cute lil horse - I'm on a horse-loving kick this week so this is the perfect photo for me to admire.

    I'm amazed the dish wasn't too spicy given the motherlode of peppers in that one photo above:)

  37. AnonymousJune 13, 2011

    Nice Recipe!

    I just read an article about growing your own chillies now I know what to do with them when they are ready :)


  38. Fabulous clicks and lovely dish! A wonderful post.



  39. Even I have never heard about this lil island, or i should say one real paradise on Earth, i'm impressed by your story about it. Great oportunity for you to cook something different from your culture, and smell all these spices :) And i wish Pip a lot of sucess in his future restaurants :) cause i really liked the dish. Squid looks so delicious, and i regret i wasn't at your place :)



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