Friday, 4 July 2008


Kang Kong (or its scientific name Ipomoea aquatica) is a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable. Its precise natural distribution is unknown due to extensive cultivation, with the species found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Common names include water spinach, swamp cabbage, water convolvulus, water morning-glory, eng chai or ong choy.

The vegetable is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian dishes. In Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, the leaves are usually stir fried with chillies, garlic and dried shrimp paste (belacan). In the Penang and Ipoh cities in Malaysia, it is cooked with cuttlefish and a sweet and spicy sauce known as Ju Hu Eng Chai. During the JAPANESE OCCUPATION OF SINGAPORE in WORLD WAR II, the vegetable grew remarkably well and easily in many areas, and become a popular wartime crop. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

This is how I make kang kong belacan.

1 bunch kang kong – washed and leaves separated from the stalks and keep separately. Discard any woody sections of the stalk and slice any large stalks lengthways. Cut into 4 cm lengths.
4 cloves garlic*
2 to 3 shallots*
1 small slice belacan* – toasted over open flame until roasted or in foil in the oven
2 to 3 tsp minced chilli or 3 to 4 fresh red chillies*
1 to 2 tbsp dried prawns*
1 to 2 tbsp veg oil

In a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind * ingredients. Add salt.

In a wok, heat oil and fry ground ingredients for 1 to 2 mins, stirring constantly. Add in the stalks and fry for 30 secs. Next add in the leaves, mix well, check salt and lift when leaves have wilted. Serve with NASI LEMAK.

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