Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kam Heong Sotong (Squids In Fragrant Curry Sauce)

Kam Heong Sotong is truly a Malaysian favourite. "Kam Heong", is a Cantonese word when translated directly, means "Golden Fragrance". Just as it's name, this dish smells really good. It is usually served in Chinese restaurants, and can be cooked with various seafood and even chicken meat. The other popular seafood that is usually cooked this way is our local clams, which we called "lalah" and also delicious with fresh crabs.  

We would sometimes order this dish when we eat out at Chinese restaurants, either clams or sotong (squid).  Whenever this hot piping dish is served at the table, the fragrant smell will make your saliva glands starts working immediately!

You could cook this at home, but be prepared to buy more squids, as once they are cooked, they sort of "shrink"! And cook lots of rice, you would want a second helping! What you need is lots of fresh curry leaves, it brings a wonderful fragrance to this dish and a fair amount of dried prawns.

My Curry Leaf Plant. Curry Leaf is easily obtainable from any wet market or supermarkets in Malaysia, and very cheap too, but then, having your own plant is definitely more convenient. I grew this plant in a pot,  it is not a very big plant, but it provides me with the most vibrant green healthy fragrant leaves.

The spiciness of this dish depends on the amount of bird's eye chillies used, and for an even spicier taste, a pinch of chilli powder may be added in as well. If you prefer less spicy, use 2 or 3 bird's eye chillies. Here, I have used only 2 since my kids are eating this as well, and I have chopped it to large chunks so that it is easier to remove when serving to the kids. For extra spicier kick, chop the chillies finely so that the heat from the chillies gets distributed throughout. If a drier dish is preferred, do not add any water during cooking, but my family is a "gravy-loving family", we love gravies to eat with our rice, so I have added in about 3 tablespoons of water just for a little gravy, not too much though, as this is a fairly dry dish. Dried prawns is a must for this dish, otherwise it would not be the same, the dried prawns are soaked to soften first, then chopped to small pieces and fry till fragrant and crispy. 
The squids are sliced to rings and marinated with some corn flour,  to keep them soft and tender during cooking, as squids tend to turn rubbery and tough if cooked too long. The squids are stir-fried for a minute to briefly pre-cook them, remove and added in to the curry sauce later for a quick stir. 

Really fragrant from the curry leaves, dried prawns and curry powder. We just love the thick saucy gravy, with bits of garlic, shallots, dried prawns all coated with the delicious fragrant sauce that is a little spicy and salty with a tinge of sweetness. I could eat my bowl of rice with just this one dish alone! 

Kam Heong Sotong (Squids In Fragrant Curry Sauce)
800gm squid
2 tsp cornflour
4 garlic cloves (chopped finely)
8 shallots (chopped finely)
2 heaped tablespoons dried prawns (soaked till soften, drain and chopped to small pieces)
2 heaped tablespoons fish curry powder
6 stalks fresh curry leaves (remove stalks)
6-8 bird's eye chillies (chopped)
2 lemongrass, (2" from the bottom white section, slice lengthwise to half, and sliced to thin strips)
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp sugar, or to taste
few drops of black soy sauce
cooking oil

  1. Clean squid, cut to rings, marinate with 2 tsp cornflour and set aside. This is to tenderize the squid so that they will be tender and nice during cooking.
  2. Heat about  1 tablespoon cooking oil in a wok or saucepan. When oil is hot, add in squids and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Scoop to a plate, keep aside.
  3. In a clean wok or saucepan, heat about 3-4 tablespoons cooking oil. Add the chopped garlic and shallots, saute for about 3-4 minutes until fragrant and light brown. Add in chopped dried prawns and fry till dried prawns are fragrant, light brown and crispy. Add in the curry leaves, bird's eye chillies and lemongrass. Stir fry for another minute or two until the curry leaves releases its fragrance. Add in the curry powder, stir for a few seconds to combine and add in the squids, plus whatever juices has accumulated on the plate.
  4. Add a few drops of black soy sauce, sugar and salt to taste.
  5. If a little gravy is preferred, add in about 2-3 tablespoons water. Stir for a minute or two. Scoop out to a serving plate and serve hot. Enjoy!


  1. I love squid and I adore curry ! You're giving me idea to cook a new curried way, thank you very much ;)
    I suppose we can use frozen squids ?

  2. Hi Axelle,
    Yes, I suppose you can use frozen squid, but using the fresh ones is much more flavourful! Hope you give this a try! Enjoy!

  3. wow,love your pot of curry leaves , my has little leaf, hehehe..this sound like a great dish!

  4. Joyce, my salivary glands have been activated just looking at your photo and reading your description! I will try this soon, have to practice cooking seafood.

  5. I am sure your Kum Heong Sotong must be very yummy. Drooling already. However, I am drawn to your curry leaf plant. Looks so beautiful. Curry leaves are very expensive in Melbourne. However, I recently bought a plant which is about 8inch tall and costs me AUD10.

  6. The name says it all "kam heong".... really fragrance! The sauce looks very yummy and delicious. Growing our own living herbs always comes in handy when we need them!

  7. I wish I could find some fresh curry leaves..the squid stir-fry looks delish.

  8. By the look at the sauce also can tell that it's yummy! This can go with a big bowl of rice for me!

  9. Yum-yum! I'm drooling & need some rice to go with this delicious "kam heong sotong' leh! & WOW! your curry leaf plant looks so healthy ! It's always great to grow your own herbs & very handy too! I don't even think I can find any dried curry leaf here. Mine is all the way from M'sia. :p hehehehehehe

  10. I had tried the prawn and crab version and they were yummy. I'm sure this sotong version is just as good.

  11. Great and interesting post! I have yet to learn how to love squid for some reason; your recipe looks fabulous. Years ago I also had a curry plant in my herb garden; that is fun to try out. Good to be back to my Blogland.

  12. And I haven't eaten much less cook some squid for sometime now ! :P This squid curry looks absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS ! I'm drooling just by looking at it ! lol A flavorful and hearty dish that everyone will surely love :D Why don't you throw some of that curry leaves here ?! Much much better if together with your delectable curry :D

  13. I've tried your recipe of squids cooked in oregano and it was fantastic. I shall bookmark this recipe to try out soon.

    1. Hi Stiletto, I'm glad that you have enjoyed the squids with oregano. Hope you give this a try, enjoy!

  14. Oh my heavens Joyce! This dish sounds absolutely heavenly! Thank you so much for describing the way you composed it. I would like to think I would some day prepare it myself, I do adore squid, however, I know for a fact I probably never will. What a shame, it sure sounds like something I would just devour!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing...I leave you dreaming about your fragrant squid:)

  15. Love squid. This looks delicious.

  16. Hi Joyce, your squid looks so delicious with that sauce, yummy! I think I should also try to grow some curry leaves :)

  17. Love kam heong sotong! Actually I like kam heong everything~ I love the smell of curry leaves, hehehe!

  18. Joyce,
    Only looking at your Kam Heong Sotong my saliva glands already start working.
    My family is also a gravy lover, i guess if i cook this i must cook more gravy like you too. I like your curry leaves plant, it good to plant in a pot as it will not grow into a big plant.
    My FIL plant a curry tree leave for me too. He plant it at the backyard on the ground. It grow quite tall and big so i call it a tree instead of a small plant..LOL

  19. mouthwatering recipe.....fresh curry leaves not only add flavor but its healthy too...just love it!

  20. this looks really good, Joyce
    too bad my kids dont eat squid, but i definitely like to try this dish for me and DH :)

  21. Looks absolutely delicious, I love the taste of curry leaves... I'm so envious you have planted one so near you!

  22. I don't personally cook squid myself but this sure looks delish.

  23. Joyce, envy your garden leh... Full of good cooking ingredients! Lol! That doting with curry leave us making my mouth water...sure can go for two plates of steam rice. :))

  24. wow joyce, your kam heong sotong looks fantastic! i think i better leave here immediately or else my saliva will drop onto my keyboard!

  25. Hi Joyce,
    What a lovely dish that will be packed with flavor, this is a great recipe. Have a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  26. Hi Joyce, I love kam heong style crabs and la la! Very very fragrant, the sauce. And you're right, need to use lots of curry leaves ;)

  27. Hi friends,
    Thank you for stopping by and all your lovely comments. I do hope that you will give this fragrant dish a try! Enjoy!

  28. Hi Joyce,

    your squid dish looks so good and both of them are my husband's favourite!! You just helped me to solve a dish for dinner ;) Good work!!

  29. This looks delicious! I love squids!

  30. I tried this recently and it had a bitter aftertaste- like from the curry powder. Not sure what went wrong



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