Saturday, 17 December 2011

Sotong goreng

Cuttlefish (sotong) is an expensive ingredient in Malay cuisine but the Malay people are very good at cooking sotong.

Sotong is a generic term and refers to the 5 forms: (i) small baby squids, (ii) medium cuttlefish, (iii) a bit larger cuttlefish with thick backbone, which is useful for budgerigars to sharpen their beaks, (iv) large flat dried cuttlefish which is sold in the dried form (contains boric acid), and (v) octopus. The octopus is also known as sotong gurita. The octopus is used in Malay story-telling to scare children.

Sotong must first be cleaned before cooking. Use fresh firm sotong which has no odour. Old sotong is limp and smelly.

To clean sotong, first separate the head from the body - pull them apart. Clean the body first, then clean the head pieces.

To clean the sotong body:
Slit open the sotong body and pull out the soft/hard backbone and discard. Some prefer to leave the purple skin on while some would prefer to remove it. Pull part all attachments to the inside wall and discard. Some prefer to keep the sotong egg and other parts. Clean all sand and unwanted stuff. Wash under running water and set aside to drain off excess water.

To clean the sotong head pieces:
Remove the shiny ink sac from the slimy inner mass without bursting it. Bursting the ink sac will result in a black ink that stains everything black, which is difficult to wash away. Squeeze the head to reveal the mouth parts and pull that out. Use a sharp knife to remove the eyes by cutting under each eye and pulling them out. Discard the shiny ink sac, mouth parts and eyes. Clean the head under running water and set aside. Some prefer to cut the tentacles short, some do not mind leaving them long.

Sotong can be cooked as sambal sotong or sotong goreng. Both are easy dishes.

To make sotong goreng (fried cuttlefish), follow this recipe below.

Clean 1kg sotong as described above
Cut into 1-inch rings or pieces
Drain to remove excess water
Mix sotong with salt-tumeric pre-mix
Slice thick slices of a large onion
Slice thick slices of a large green chili
2 Tabsp cooking oil

Heat up wok
Add sotong
Add water to sotong and cook on high fire till half done
When the gravy is almost gone, add oil and salt to taste
Adding a few grains of sugar will bind the spices to the sotong, and separates the oil
Mix and add sliced onions and chilies
Serve hot with plain white rice

1 kg Sotong @ RM12/kg 

Large onion slices and green chili 

Cooking sotong in gravy 

Sotong goreng