If you go to any Southern Chinese restaurant, chances are, you will find this vegetable on the menu, referred to as kangkung (in Indonesian), morning glory, water spinach, water convolvulus or swamp cabbage. This popular vegetable is widely used in East and Southeast Asian cuisine, mostly stir fried with garlic or chilli, sometimes with added proteins such as poultry, beef, tofu or tempeh.
Kangkung is sold in a bunch. Younger kangkung has smaller stalks with smaller leaves, with a lighter colour. Always choose a fresh bunch and avoid wilting, yellowish leaves.
Use only the tender parts and cut the stalks into bite sizes (around 3 cm). Before I lived overseas, I used to break each stalk by hand when preparing it. But when I moved overseas, I took a shortcut and just cut the whole bunch uniformly using a knife. My mother would never have approved of this, arguing that using a knife makes the vegetables stiff when cooked, but I did it anyway, since she wasn’t there to supervise. (I’m sure she is still watching me from heaven now, shaking her head, disagreeing with my way of cutting it…I miss you Mom).Print
Stir-fried morning glory, popular in Thai and Southern Chinese cuisine, also known as kangkung or water spinach. Our version includes galangal and Indonesian bay leaves, which give the dish an Indonesian twist.
- 50 gr kangkung, cut into bite-sized portions, wash thoroughly
- 3 red chillies, sliced diagonally (optional)
- 5 small shallots, finely sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 2 fresh or dried salam leaves
- 3 cm galangal, washed and bruised
- 0.5 tsp roasted shrimp paste
- Salt to taste
- A pinch of sugar
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- In a wok, heat the vegetable oil.
- Sauté the sliced garlic, shallots, chilies, shrimp paste, galangal and salam leaves until fragrant, around 3 minutes.
- Add salt and sugar.
- Add the kangkung, mix well with the spices and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes or until the vegetable is tender.
- Wash the vegetables several times, by putting it in a basin with enough fresh cold water to cover it, to remove the soil or the sand.
- Fry the kangkung over high heat briefly, to get a fresh, delicious stir-fry.
Keywords: Quick & Easy, Non-Spicy, Vegetables, Shrimp Paste