Monday, January 23, 2006

Ever heard of Water Convolvulus?

Happiness is.. LEAFY GREENS????

Every once in a while, Cindy and I go to the Filipino Food Store in Abilene, where, limited though their selection may be, I am able to just soak in Asian groceries, spices, smells etc. There's often many products that are made in Malaysia too!

Anyway, on Fridays, if you venture into the "back" of the store, there will be a variety of Asian vegetables. I'm always complaining that I can't find any "Asian vegetables" here in Abilene, but last Friday, my eyes almost fell out and I went "OH MY GOSH" when I discovered they had KANGKONG!!!

After I had brought it home and showed David what "gem" I had gotten from the store, he looked at me and asked, "what IS that, spinach?" I didn't really know the proper English name for it so I looked it up....

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Ipomoea aquatica

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Ipomoea aquatica is a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable. It is also called water spinach, swamp cabbage, water convolvulus, water morning-glory, kangkung (from Malay), kongxincai (from Chinese: 空心菜; Hanyu Pinyin: kōngxīncài; literally "hollow vegetable"), or ong choy (from the Cantonese pronunciation of Chinese: 蕹菜; Hanyu Pinyin: wéngcài). It is not to be mistaken with watercrest. It is often a highlighted source of food.

Some of the yummilicous ways to cook it are...

Kangkong Belacan aka Water Convolvulus ( I LURVE that word..hehe ) with Shrimp Paste

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Sotong Kangkong aka Water Convolvulus with Cuttle Fish

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An addition to Penang Hokkien Mee aka Penang Shrimp Noodles

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Cultural references

There is a belief in Chinese culture that discourages extensive consumption of Ipomoea aquatica as a staple food crop (in contrast to rice) with the explanation that the hollow stem makes the person weak and hollow like the plant, although this belief does not advocate refraining from eating the plant entirely. But the elderly, for example, are discouraged from consuming it.

This belief probably derived from ancient observations following attempts to replace consumption of rice with the relatively resilient Ipomoea aquatica during times of food shortages and war and noting loss of muscle strength, probably due to the fact that Ipomoea aquatica contains less food energy than rice.

My grandmother just told me it gives you "Wind"


Agnes Tan said...

Ohhhhh ... I luv kangkong too. It's so crunchy despite after being stir-fried to tat extent. LOL!! My boy likes it too ... w/o the belechan ie ;)

BTW, 新年快乐,早生贵子,恭喜恭喜!!!! (PS: Hope I got all the chinese characters correct, esp the 2nd verse ;D )

michelle said...

definitely one of my favourites!! we get it here sometimes in aussie too but they're a bit pricey compare to the common ones like bak choy or choy sum

Monica said...

oh I never heard of it but i'd try!!! my David is too picky, he wont even eat spinach normally....

stella said...

Letti, I totally share your LOVE for kangkong! Dad cooks it exactly like you - with belacan. Delicious. Especially with roast crackling pork!