Spinach with dried shrimp recipe

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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
Spice Paste
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. Grind the Spice Paste ingredients in a mortar or blender, adding a little oil if necessary to keep the blades turning.
  3. 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.

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