Kangkung is a semi-aquatic, tropical plant grown as a vegetable for its tender shoots and leaves. It is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The plant is known in English as water spinach. Occasionally, it has also been mistakenly called “kale” in English.
According to Linda Oon’s delicate food blog Roti & Rice, this is the side dish that South East Asians miss the most when they are abroad:
– Kangkung Belacan is a spicy water spinach stir-fry flavored with chilies and shrimp paste. Full of umami flavor and delicious with steamed rice.
Kangkung can be gritty and should be washed in a copious amount of water. Always make sure they are well drained before stir-frying. Use a salad spinner if necessary to get rid of excess water.
- 1 lb kangkung / ong choy / water spinach / convolvulus, cut into 3-inch lengths (450g)
- 3 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
- 6 to 8 Thai-shallots or 1 medium onion (peeled and cut into pieces)
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 1 tbsp dried shrimps (washed and soaked for 10 minutes to soften) ¾ inch cube terasi (shrimp paste, also called Belacan. It is wise to toast the
- terasi before using it to dampen the very fishy taste of the paste.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
Be sure to rinse water spinach well as it can be gritty. Allow vegetables to drain in a colander for at least an hour or use a salad spinner to get rid of excessive water.
Blend red chilies, Thai shallots, garlic, dried shrimps, and terasi with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water into a paste.
• In a large pan or wok, heat oil. Saute blended mixture for 4 to 5 minutes until it is fragrant.
• Add kangkung and fry on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables are wilted. Add a little salt to taste.