A popular method of cooking this excellent leafy green vegetable using both Malay and Chinese seasonings.
- 1½ lbs (750 g) kangkung (water spinach or regular spinach), trimmed, wilted leaves discarded
- 2-3 tablespoons oil
- 3 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked in water to soften, then coarsely ground in a mortar or blender
- 2-4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 red finger-length chili, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 in (2½ cm) ginger, sliced
- 5-8 red finger-length chilies, deseeded and sliced
- 6 shallots, peeled
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 teaspoons dried shrimp paste (behchan)
How to Make It
- Use only the tender tips and leaves of the kangkung, and discard the tough stems. Wash the leaves and stems thoroughly in several changes of water to remove any grit.
- Grind the Spice Paste ingredients in a mortar or blender, adding a little oil if necessary to keep the blades turning.
- Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry the ground dried shrimp and the Spice Paste over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes until fragrant. Add the sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and sliced chili, and stir to mix well. Increase the heat to high, add the kangkung and stir-fry briskly until the vegetable is slightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Best served hot.