Cuttlefish Like Kangkong, Is It Not Weird? Sotong Kangkong (鱿鱼蕹菜)



I totally have no idea as to why water spinach or Chinese convolvulus, or kangkong (as in Malay) are teamed up with Chinese style dry cuttlefish… I cannot seems to trace the origin of this dish… I am also unsure the dish belong which races.


Some said that it is a Penang and Ipoh well known snack but I have to object that as it was found in many parts of Malaysia and Singapore.including Sarawak. I also understand that Rujak Bandung is also quite similar in terms of the ingredients used.


It is also one of  my childhood snack in Sarawak and was usually sold in the Rojak stalls.. However, it was an occasional treat this as it was a rather costly dish because of the soaked cuttlefish. Those who have purchased dried cuttlefish will know that it is not cheap as with other dried seafoods.


But I was surprised to find that these soaked cuttlefish are rather cheap in Singapore. I bought a whole cuttlefish for only S$3.50.


The dish is very simple, just some blanched kangkong, some blanched soaked cuttlefish and served with a special sweet and tangy sauce. The dish was sprinkled generously with some peanut powder and sesame seeds.




  • 1 bundle of kangkong (washed and cut into about 5 cm in length) (空心菜)
  • 1 medium size soaked cuttlefish (发好鱿鱼)
  • 3 tablespoons of petis udang (Hae Ko) (虾膏)
  • 3 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce (海鲜酱)
  • 2 tablespoons of plum sauce (酸梅酱)
  • 1 tablespoons of white sugar (白糖)
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes or chilli powder (辣椒粉)
  • 1 tablespoon of plain water (白水)
  • Some toasted sesame seeds (芝麻)
  • Some ground peanuts (花生)




  • Wash the cuttlefish and cut into small pieces. Note that cuttlefish when blanched will shrunk in size. At such, the ideal size will be about 2cm x 1 cm. Wash and cut the kangkong into your desired size.

  • In a pot, put the thick shrimp sauce (Hae Ko), Hoisin sauce, plum sauce, white sugar, chilli powder and plain water. Stir until well mix and bring to boil under medium heat. The main purpose of this step is to integrate the sauce and the boiling will help to thicken the sauce. It took about 2-3 minutes.


  • In a pot of hot boiling water, put few drops of oil, blanched the kangkong for about 1-2 minutes. Drain, squeeze dry and transfer to your serving plate. Blanch the cuttlefish for 1-2 minutes, drain adequately (at least 1/2 minute to ensure no water in the cuttlefish) and put on top of the blanched kangkong. Pour the sauce on top of the cuttlefish and dust sparingly with the sesame seeds and grounded peanuts. Best served immediately with calamansi (optional) after it was prepared.


  • Timings of blanching kangkong and cuttlefish are the critical success factors of this dish. Over blanched kangkong will make the kangkong looked yellowish and lack of crunchiness. Over blanched cuttlefish will make the cuttlefish shrunk in size and become chewy.

  • Blanched kangkong will secrete water after it was blanched. Therefore, before transferring to the serving plate, it is imperative that the kangkong have to be as dry as possible. Otherwise, the sauce will become very dilute when pour on top of the kangkong.



I am generally happy with the sauce as I find that it is delicious. However, it is still slightly different from what I have tasted before in Kuching when young and  I am unsure of the reasons. Well there are many recipes in the internet and every stalls will have its own version of sauce and it is definitely difficult to crack their secret code.. But trust me, it is definitely a delicious and pleasant sauce.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.








One thought on “Cuttlefish Like Kangkong, Is It Not Weird? Sotong Kangkong (鱿鱼蕹菜)

  1. Pingback: Belachan Bee Hoon (虾酱米粉) | GUAI SHU SHU

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