Garlic water spinach is another favorite veggie dish of mine from Hong Kong’s Temple Street Night Market (if you missed my first favorite check out my Green Beans in XO Sauce).
Also known as morning glory, water spinach is a very popular green in China and Southeast Asia. Morning glory is a mild tasting vegetable and it’s so delicious — even raw!
You can find water spinach at your local Asian grocery store. At the markets here in Hong Kong there are dozens of leafy greens that all tend to look a bit similar to me and there are actually several different names by which this particular one goes by.
So when in doubt, pull up a photo of the raw veggie on your handy phone and compare just like I did at the local wet market. Even with that tactic and the kind (though not so reassuring) nodding by the woman at the vegetable stand who spoke zero English, I was still not completely sure I had picked up the right greens.
But once I got those babies rinsed off and sautéed in garlic and chilis, I knew I had made the right purchase. I wouldn’t say Peter and I have a very veggie household, but this is one dish that we both love.
Just like the serving at the Hong Kong night market, my take on garlic water spinach is extra garlicky and saucy. The morning glory cooks quickly and shrinks when tossed into a hot pan so be sure you are adding in hefty handfuls into the pan.
The leaves should be dark green when they are ready but be careful not to overcook or to avoid soggy greens.
This easy side dish is a staple at our house and a healthy addition to serve alongside your favorite kung pao chicken or any other Chinese inspired main course.
- 1 tsp palm sugar (substitute brown sugar)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small red chili (minced)
- 2 large handfuls of water spinach (morning glory) (rinsed but dried)
- In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, fish sauce, and palm sugar until sugar is dissolved
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium - high heat
- Add garlic and stir quickly and continuously until garlic is lightly golden
- Toss in chili and continue stirring
- When garlic is golden brown, add water spinach and stir to cook until leaves are wilted and stems have softened to your liking
- When water spinach is cooked, turn of heat and pour in sauce mixture
- Toss to coat
- Serve warm