March's Kulinarya Cooking Club (KCC) theme is vegetables. Our goal is to come up with a dish that is primarily vegetables, preferably no meat but seafood is okay. This is so we can showcase to the culinary world that Filipino dishes are not just about meat, fried and unhealthy dishes.
When I got this challenge, I knew exactly what I wanted to make but the question was - will my local Asian market have it? I wanted to "braise" Kangkong aka Water Spinach in a sauce similar to Adobo. In Tagalog, this dish would actually be called Adobong Kangkong. I have not seen water spinach at my local Asian market lately so I went in there, fingers crossed that they have it. And the vegetable nymphs were probably listening to me because the market was down to 4 bags. So I picked up the 2 bags that didn't seem to have a lot of wilted leaves.
The problem with the water spinach we get here in FL is that half are already wilted inside the bag. You pretty much need to get more than enough of what you need because you end up throwing out some of the leaves because of this. The good thing is, the stems are also edible and I actually like them more because they cook to a crisp. I do have to confess that I have never made this dish and only remember it by taste. I called my mother in CA to ask for the recipe but she was not home. I figured, if it doesn't turn out, I will go to my fall back, Ginisang Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd).
To my surprise, it turned out close to how my mom makes it. Served with a side of steamed rice, it's perfect for dinner!
1. Separate leaves from stem. Discard any wilted leaves. Chop both leaves and stem and soak in water. Make sure to rinse leaves thoroughly as they may have soil on them.
2. Wring all the water out of the leaves using a paper towel. If you don't do this, there will be too much water as you cook them.
3. Flavor accordingly to your taste. Some like this dish more on the tangy side and if this is the case, add more vinegar. If you like yours more on the salty side, add fish sauce. Salt should be used only when adding taste in the end.
4. Soak the dried shrimp in water for at least 15 minutes to remove excess saltiness. If you don't like to use shrimp, you can use diced shrimp or pork.
5. Substitue fish sauce with salt if you have any aversion to it.
Prep & Cook Time: 45 minutes (picking the leaves out is what took the most time)
You will need: skillet with lid
Cost: Under $6
1-1 1/2 lbs Water Spinach/Kangkong, leaves separated from stems and soaked in water
2 oz dried shrimp
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp cooking oil
Heat oil on skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add dried shrimp and stir for 2 minutes. Drain water off from chopped stems and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add leaves, vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce and ground pepper. Using two spatulas, stir then cover and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add salt if needed. Serve immediately with a side of steamed rice.
Enjoy this SARAPLICIOUS! dish.