If this set of pictures looks different from the one served in the restaurants and Chi Char （煮炒档）stores, there are two main reasons.. One is because of the preparation of the Kangkong or convolvulus for stir frying and another reason is much less oils were used for the stir frying of this homemade dish.. Therefore, the dish look more watery than the store version which is very glossy and attractive.. However, I personally preferred to have some sauce to go with my rice..
If it tastes very different, there are another two reasons.. One is the different seasoning being used. We don’t generally used MSG nowadays but different seasonings do provide different taste..I am especially sensitive to this “potent” childhood seasonings which I have restricted my usage due to the current health trends.
Secondly is the heat used to stir frying these household dish.. The extremely high heat used in the preparation of dishes in restaurant do create a different in taste be it noodle dishes or other stir fry household dishes.
Therefore, I hope readers do not tend to compare what is sold in the stores and what you have cooked at home.. Yes, this is a common dish that many household will cook but it taste different.. I humbly believed that no recipe in the net will provide you with the same taste and shall claim to be authentic . I have nothing to shout about this recipe, this is how my late mum used to cook and tastiness will depends your accumulated experiences of stir frying as years went by.
As per Wikipedia:
“Ipomoea aquatica is a semiaquatic, tropical plant grown as a vegetable for its tender shoots and leaves. It is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, although it is not known where it originated. This plant is known in English as water spinach,river spinach,water morning glory, water convolvulus, or by the more ambiguous names Chinese spinach, Chinese Watercress,Chinese convolvulus, swamp cabbage or kangkong in Southeast Asia.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipomoea_aquatica)
As I have mentioned before, my set of pictures may look different because it is our family way of cleaning and cutting the stems as in the picture above. Since young, I learned from my mum the need to cut open the stems when stir frying kangkong. The rationale of cutting open the stems are to identify if there is any insects or worms hiding inside the hollow stems.. It may be laborious and that is one of the reasons that I did not like to prepare kangkong dishes. Having said that, is it not better be safe than sorry? Another reason is to maximize the recovery rate of the Kangkong. I knew some families threw away the stems but life is tough then…
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 3-4 adults
300 grams (about 1 packet) of kangkong or Chinese water spinach, clean and cut into small chunks
2 large chillies
3-4 cloves of garlics
1 tablespoon of shrimp paste or belachan
2 tablespoons of dried shrimps (optional)
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
STEPS OF PREPARATION
Pound the chilli, shallots and garlics until the texture that you want . I personally prefer coarser texture. Add the belachan, continue to pound until well combined. (You can add some lemon grass if you like).
In a pan, sauté the pounded ingredients (rempah) with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until fragrant. Add the cleaned kangkong, give a quick stir for 2-3 minutes until well mixed. If it is too dry, you can consider adding 1/8 cup of water. Add some prefer seasonings such as chicken stock powder or mushroom concentrate or sugar. Served immediately after being prepared as a side dish in a typical Chinese meal with white rice.
The quantities stated here are for reference and feel free to adjust to suit your taste buds. If you like chilli padi, feel free to substitute. Some families like to add in lots of dry shrimps but I did not add as none in my families appreciate the dried shrimps.
Both belachan and dried shrimps can be rather salty. Therefore, in this dish, do not add any salty condiments such as salt or soya sauce. If you want to add, you have to taste the dish first before adding such condiments.
If you are segregating the leaves and stem like me, you should stir fry the stems one minute earlier than the leaves.. Over cooked the leaves will make the dish less appealing, brownish and soft.
The basic recipe is here for new house chefs for reference.. Whether it is nice or not will depend on your experience of stir frying. But do not be deterred to give it a try.. Everyone will start from somewhere.. As usual, this dish cooked by my late mother and my mother in law will still taste much better than my own version even though we used the same ingredients。
This is another dish catered for new house chefs who are looking for a recipe.. This type of household dishes will never have an authentic or detail recipes.. It shall be tailored to suit your family taste buds. I have still decided to share after seeing so many people ordering this dishes when we eat out..
Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.
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What brand of belachan you use
Sorry, i do not have a particular brand to recommend
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