Sotong Curry (Squid or Calamari in Curry Sauce)
It has been a long while since I was first inspired by a photo taken by boo-licious of masak-masak.blogspot.com of this sotong curry she reviewed sometime in my early days as a food blogger. I couldn't resist the delicious looking sotong curry photo she took, so I pasted it on my desktop as a reminder I should cook this delicacy someday. That day has finally come!
Sotong also known as squid or calamari is a relative of the octopus family and available all year round. The only reason I hardly cook this dish is because sotong is very high in cholesterol. Reading taken from a writing by Sheldon Margen and Dale A. Ogar in our Star newspapers sometime ago states sotong has "239 mg of cholesterol per a three ounce cooked portion, 117 calories and 4 g of fat, but less than 1 g is saturated." Just as a comparision, the same three ounce portion of crabs has 87 calories, 1.5 gm fat and only 85 gm of cholesterol. Even three ounce of fresh prawns (shrimps) only account for 166 mg of cholesterol, 89 calories and 1 g of fat.
Whether it is a myth or not that tamarind juice helps reduce cholesterol, I shall give it a clear shot!
6 fairly large sotong (skinned, de-boned and inky eyes and teeth removed)
1 Tbsp assam paste (tamarind paste) - soak in a small bowl of warm water, discard the seeds and use the assam water
1 tsp belacan paste (toasted till fragrant)
4 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt to taste
Ingredients to be blended
5 dried chilies
3 fresh large red chilies
5 bird-eye chilies
3 clove garlic
1/2 inch ginger
Heat wok, drizzle with olive oil, stir in blended ingredients till fragrant. Add belacan, sugar and assam water. Put in the cleaned sotong, stir just about 5 minutes. Always remember sotong will become rubbery once over-cooked. Sea salt to taste.
Serve and decorate with some mint leaves.