Water Spinach - have you ever tired this veggie or at least spotted it at the supermarket? The first time I ever tried it was in an Indonesian restaurant in Dubai. It look kind of bitter to me, but when I tasted it, I realised it’s just like spinach, not as bitter and much more crunchy due to its straw like stems. Also called Morning Glory or Kangkong, this semi aquatic plant is found in tropical countries and is a staple in Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Water spinach is full of nutritional goodness: A 100g serving contains water (90%), protein (3%), fibre (3%), fat (0.9%), carbohydrate (4.3%), minerals (2%), nicotinamide (0.6mg), riboflavin (120mg), vitamin C (137mg) and vitamin E (11mg). It also contains carotene, amino acids including polyphenol (an antioxidant), and minerals such as potassium, iron and magnesium, making it almost a superfood! South east Asians claim this veggie is a cure for various ailments, everything from diabetes to haemorrhoids to insomnia. This particular veggie must always be eaten cooked and never “raw” as that has its own repercussions
This easy stir fry is by far the most popular style of cooking this veggie. The traditional recipe uses white sugar to add sweetness. I have used onions instead to bring out a touch of natural sweetness to this dish. I enjoy having it with simple steamed rice or rice noodles and kimchi. You can easily find this in the herbs/ greens section of the supermarket or try one of the asian supermarkets.
3 bunches fresh water spinach
3 tbsp sesame or rice bran oil oil
1 tbsp Soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
3 cloves fresh garlic, sliced or if you have small ones use 6-7 and keep them whole
2- 3 fresh red chilles, sliced
1 onion sliced into long thin slices
2 tsp Himalayan salt
Cut the water spinach into 3- to 4-inch pieces. Once its all cut up, place all the leaves and stems in a tub of water to bring out all the sand and grime stuck on it. After a minimum of 10 mins of soaking, rinse it well and leave it to drip dry.
Heat a wok with the oil and once hot add the slices garlic and red chilies to this. Stir it for a minute and add the onions. Once the onions are translucent, add the water spinach leaves to the wok and toss all the ingredients together. Add the salt, soy sauce and fish sauce to the wok and keep stirring. These leaves are similar to spinach and have a lot of water content, so the quantity that remains in the end is around one third. Avoid covering it with a lid to cook as a lot of water comes out of the leaves. Once the colour of the leaves change and it looks tender, turn off the heat and serve this dish hot, garnished with more slices of red chilies.