Chinese water spinach, known in our family as “hollow vegetable,” is one of our favorite Asian leafy greens.It goes by the name of ong choy in Cantonese or kōng xīn cài (空心菜) in Mandarin, which translates to “hollow heart vegetable.”.It’s known as phak bung in Thailand, rau muong in Vietnam, trokuon in Cambodia, and kangkong in the Philippines.As a semi-aquatic tropical plant, it grows abundantly in natural waterways in Southeast Asia, where it is native.ABOVE: A bunch of green stem water spinach, with narrower leaves and thinner stalks.ABOVE: A bunch of white stem water spinach, with arrow-shaped leaves and thicker, light green stalks.In its ideal natural environment of muddy, moist soil on the banks of waterways, water spinach grows aggressively and abundantly.While Florida in particular has been trying to eradicate it from its swampy environment to protect native plant species, for now, its cultivation and sale is still allowed in the U.S. We all just have to do our part to eat them up!We have read that the plant can flourish in well-watered containers with lots of sun, which can be a great way to keep it in check if you’re thinking about cultivating your own.Ingredients for kangkung belacan (shrimp paste), a popular Malaysian water spinach preparation.This Malaysian preparation is incredibly delicious, and again, water spinach is the perfect vegetable for it.Similarly, some restaurants in Hong Kong and southern China stir-fry water spinach with seafood-based ingredients like XO sauce or dried scallops.

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Stir Fried Water Spinach

Introducing two ways to cook stir-fried water spinach, and both require fewer than five ingredients.Try out this Chinese leafy green to add color and nutrition to your dinner table.Since I moved to the US, I’ve been missing the simple and delicious greens that my mom used to make every day.I purchased and cooked Chinese greens while living in Austin, especially after the 99 Ranch Market opened in 2018.The first time I visited the wet market there, I was thrilled to find almost all the veggies I’d eaten growing up.The vegetable is quite popular in southern Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisines, where it is known as ‘kang kung’.If you’re wondering why go to all this trouble to hunt down and cook this special veggie, I might have a good reason beyond the fact that it’s a delicious tasting vegetable.For example, 100 grams of water spinach contains 210% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin, hair, and eyes.Additionally, the greens also contain minerals such as iron (21%), calcium (8%), potassium (7%), magnesium (18%), manganese (7%) and phosphorus (5.5%).Water spinach is usually sold in bundles, displayed in the room-temperature produce section of a wet market, or in a refrigerated area in an Asian grocery store.On the other hand, I’ve seen other cooks actually prefer larger sized water spinach, stating that the bigger leaves taste richer.Once purchased, store water spinach in a bag in the refrigerator and consume it as soon as possible, preferably within three days.The preparation method you use for water spinach (i.e. before cooking) can affect the end result of the dish, substantially.Ideally, you will be dealing with the water spinach one stalk at a time, which my mom insists on doing.Unlike most grocery stores, Asian markets don’t usually wash the veggies before putting them on display (so they have a longer shelf life).Since water spinach has a very mild taste, it usually works well with pungent sauce and aromatics.There was a time I bought a big batch of water spinach that was about a pound and a half.The hard truth about cooking a delicious plate of Chinese greens is, you need to use quite a bit of oil to make it work.In this case, I usually add a splash of Shaoxing wine while cooking, so the pan won’t get too dry.Long story short, it doesn’t matter when you make a saucy and rich stir fry dish (such beef and broccoli) in a skillet.

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Stir-Fried Water Spinach Recipe

Water spinach, also known as morning glory and pak boong (ผักบุ้ง) in Thai, is a vegetable that tastes really delicious.Some other good things about this leafy green vegetable are that it’s low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals.What We’ve Been Told: In Thailand, water spinach is normally introduced to children when they’re in kindergarten but we make sure to cut it into small pieces so that it’s easy for them to eat.Arguably the most common and popular water spinach dish among Thais, stir-fried water spinach can be found at pretty much every restaurant and dtam sang (made to order) vendor and rice soup place (ran khao tom | ร้านข้าวต้ม).Water spinach stir-fry with crispy pork belly every once in a while isn’t so bad but you can also make this dish with chicken, squid, shrimp, or whatever else you prefer, really.I like mine with just water spinach but if I’m feeling like I need a fuller meal, I usually add chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces.Though some Thais will make it even simpler by using just fish sauce and a tiny bit of sugar to round out the flavor, and that’s fine.However, I like to use fermented soybean paste and oyster sauce because my mother has always made this dish with these and I love it.Also, I find that with oyster sauce and fermented soybean paste, I don’t need to use sugar to round out the flavor.Remove any yellow or bruised leaves and rinse the rest of the stalks with running water.Put the chopped water spinach in the pan and stir for about 2 minutes or until slightly wilted.Continue to stir to mix all the ingredients until the water spinach turns bright green and more wilted, about 2 minutes. .

Stir-Fried Water Spinach with Garlic Recipe

Try adding tofu, chicken, shrimp, or even seared tuna to your bowl for a hearty dinner that won't leave you feeling stuffed. .

Water Spinach Stir Fry (Pad Pak Boong)

In a wok, over high heat, add vegetable oil and garlic-chili mixture.As soon as it’s done, turn off the heat and immediately remove the water spinach from the pan onto a serving plate to stop it from wilting further. .

What Is Water Spinach and How Is It Used?

This ingredient works great in stir-fries, soups, and other dishes where a mild, green flavor would benefit a recipe.Ipomoea aquatica is known as kangkong in the Philippines, kangkung in Indonesia and Malaysia, rau muong in Vietnam, pak bong in Laos, and trakuon in Cambodia.After discarding the unwanted parts, take the bunch of water spinach and cut it in half horizontally.It also takes well to ingredients that give it flavor, such as garlic, ginger, chili pepper, and shrimp paste.Use the typical guidance about buying greens to check for freshness—signs of wilt, yellowing, or dampness indicate a shorter shelf life once you purchase it.The USDA has classified it as a noxious weed because it grows so fast in aquatic environments in warmer climates that it tends to crowd out other species.It's grown in places whose weather conditions can support it, such as California, Texas, Florida, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and often near Asian-American communities.Water spinach will keep in the fridge much the way any leafy green would, in a sealed container with a damp paper towel for several days.

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Water Spinach Stir Fry (Ong Choy)

If you've been wondering how to cook Ong Choy, try this easy Chinese water spinach stir fry.It's also known as ong choy in Cantonese, rau muong in Vietnam kangkong in the Philippines, kangkung in Indonesia and Malaysia, trakuon in Cambodia, and pak bong in Laos.The stems are edible, they have a crisp that makes them the perfect vegetable for stir fry or soup.Chinese water spinach is quick to cook and doesn't require a ton of seasoning to make them tasty.You can find Chinese water spinach at almost any Asian grocery store such as 99 Ranch Market, HMart, Seafood City, etc for around $2.99 per pound.The Chinese water spinach is seasoned with garlic, shallots, oyster sauce, and red chili pepper.The fresh chili adds color and a spicy taste to the dish, but you can omit it if you are not a big fan of heat.I've been consuming Chinese water spinach since I was a kid and those long leaves can be a lot for a child.Cut the leafy top portions into 2-3 inch lengths and discard the leaves that are wilted. .

Stir Fried Water Spinach with Shrimp Paste

Meet your new midweek favorite: an incredibly EASY Stir Fried Water Spinach with Shrimp Paste recipe that’s on the table in just 20 minutes!or (3) when your family absolutely adores the robust and aromatic flavors of the easiest vegetable stir fry ever.The aftermath is the result of chopsticks furiously fighting over soft and moist leaves that have soaked up every drop of sauce and crunchy snap-worthy stems coated in a luscious garlic-infused glaze.In any one serving of this leafy green is a generous ratio of iron, calcium, magnesium, fibre and antioxidants.Finely chopped garlic and chili adds an aromatic kick which perfectly balances the saltiness.Stir frying the water spinach on high heat keeps the vegetable enjoyably crisp and contrasts well with the soft leaves.We use Lee Kum Kee’s Fine Shrimp Sauce just like we did for our Steamed Lemongrass Pork, but you can find many versions from various brands in Asian supermarkets.To prepare the water spinach, rip and discard the tip of the leaves and 3cm (1″) from the bottom, then break the remaining stems into 10cm (4″) segments.Pour oil into a wok on medium heat and brown the garlic and chili for 30 seconds or until fragrant.Turn the heat to high and pour the water spinach into the wok, then season with chicken bouillon powder and stir fry for 3-5 minutes or until they have cooked to your preferred consistency.Use your nail to press into the hollow stem and if it feels soft, it’s young and tender – the ideal version for this recipe.This leafy green goes by many names, including ‘morning glory’ in English, ‘kangkong’ in southeast Asian countries, ‘rau muống’ in Vietnamese and ‘蕹菜’ (pronounced ong choy) in Cantonese.▢ 4 tbsp cooking oil Instructions To prepare the water spinach, rip and discard the tip of the leaves and 3cm (1") from the bottom, then break the remaining stems into 10cm (4") segments.Pour oil into a wok on medium heat and brown the garlic and chili for 30 seconds or until fragrant.Turn the heat to high and pour the water spinach into the wok, then season with chicken bouillon powder and stir fry for 3-5 minutes or until they have cooked to your preferred consistency.Young leafy greens will ensure a tender bite while still staying crisp if the heat is controlled well.Young leafy greens will ensure a tender bite while still staying crisp if the heat is controlled well.We use Lee Kum Kee's Fine Shrimp Sauce for our recipe, but you can find many versions from various brands in Asian supermarkets. .

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