Friday, April 15, 2011

Kangkung (空心菜) @ Water Spinach

Kangkung is a perennial vine that belongs to the same group as morning glory so it is also known as water morning glory and same genus as sweet potato. As it is a semi-aquatic tropical plant, it thrives in very damp area like swamp or water-ways. In Malaysia, it is a very popular stir-fried with garlic, shallot, chilies and shrimp paste (belacan).
My memories of kangkung in my childhood was looking at my father favourite tortoise pet feeding on it. How nice to be young, I actually got time to gaze at how that tortoise eating it and how long does it take to finish it out of boredom. Hmm…in my teens, I always wonder why my mama keep the bottom stem root part and not throw it in the bin. Then saw her sticking the root in the soil. A few days later, some leaves appeared. She was growing kangkung this way. But I don’t spent too much in the garden, except reluctantly watering the plants like a shinkansen (bullet train). I wish that I-pod were invented that time so I don’t need to listen that the pots were not moist enough like my sisters. In college, I was surprised to find that kangkung were sold in Niigata (Japan) but only during summer. Niigata prefecture has the most ski resort places in Japan so several months of deep snow here. I was so excited about it I told my Japanese friend, they were shocked a young person like me like this veggie as not many Japanese people like it. No wonder it was cheap 100Japanese Yen a bunch. Lucky me, because I came to love this vegetables in my college years. Funny, when I tend to become home-sick, I appreciate this vegetable more. Maybe because of those memories.
Don’t they look like chicken feet?DSC09521
Different stages of kangkung seedlings growth.
Kangkung leaves ready to be harvested. No need to harvest the whole leaves. But just cut some leaves that need to be used in the kitchen. Can you see some kangkung hollow stem that have been cut.DSC08550
Kangkung grows well sharing container with leeks and chives.
When harvesting kangkung leaves make sure there are some leaves left at the bottom. It takes about 2~3 weeks for kangkung to grow and be ready for the next harvest (this will also depend on the environmental factor such as temperature at your place). I presume in tropical areas it will grow much faster. This is growing in Mediterranean climate.
Today harvest, after I have cleared up two containers that were growing kangkung and some leeks too from one of the container.
We have been enjoying fresh kangkung harvest for at least 5 months now. Only one pot left growing kangkung. I cried a bucket of tears today due to some stress reasons and release it on the kangkung. So the soil should be moist for them.


Patricia said...

You have such interesting vegetables...I have never tried this one!

Autumn Belle said...

I hope you are feeling better now after releasing the bucket of tears. Luckily yours didn't create a flood just like what Alice did in Wonderland. Kangkang also reminds me of my childhood. My favourite is belacan kangkong. I love the crunchy stems more than the leaves. There was once when my mom cooked kangkong and I couldn't eat the dish because of my wobbly milk teeth. Each bite was very painful and I cried buckets. Then my grandma took matters into her own hands when she pulled out my tooth using just her fingers. After that,I could eat my kangkong dish again! My dad loved to tell this anecdote about the kangkong belacan, my milk teeth and me to all our relatives, sigh.

cikmanggis said...

semoga Diana dah ok.My mom suka makan kangkung sebagai ulam cicah sambal belacan atau budu....Cm pun rasa sangat tertekan.My aunty baru meninggal dan telah disemadikan selepas asar tadi dikg.So sad sebab tak dapat balik atas sebab yang tak dapat dielakkan.

chopinandmysaucepan said...

Love a nice stir fry kangkung belachan and I believe this vegetable grows as fast as weeds! How wonderful to cook stuff from your own garden!

Sue Garrett said...

What strange and interesting leaves it has!

Mark Willis said...

This is not something you can get in the UK where I live, but I remember it from my time in Hong Kong. It was sold in huge bunches on the local markets.

Daphne Gould said...

I've never tried or even seen this vegetable before.

rainfield61 said...

Fried Kangkong with Belacan, feel so good.

Malar said...

I find groqing Kangkung is pretty easy too! They taste good!
Hope you're feeling better now and have find peace in mind! Relax yourself more with gardening!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Malay-Kadazan girl,
We didn't plant kangkung when we were staying in Sydney as the Asian grocery shops in the suburb were all selling them. Very cheap too. So, we had kangkung belacan occasionally....guess that cooking would have made the neighbours gone bonkers! Thank God for kitchen hoods. purrrr....meow!

miruku said...

Kangkung is always never enough for me. We believe that kangkung makes you cramp esp during pregnancy.
Gardening can be a very good stress buster, i hope you're feeling better now. Relax, take it easy ya.

Lrong Lim said...

Sowed some kangkong seeds the other day... one sprouted and just as I was to celebrate, it got killed by the cold... hmmm...

Mr. H. said...

Thanks for the introduction to kangkung, sounds like a wonderful plant. As a child I always disliked working in the garden and especially hated picking beans and peas, then having to help shell and process them. Funny how life comes full circle and those things we once disliked are now such a blessing.:) Hope your tears allowed your stresses to flitter away in the wind.

Hughbert said...

Be careful, saltwater tears may make kangkung stop growing well :-) sometimes a good cry is needed to let it all out though.

kitchen flavours said...

Wow, if your bucket of tears could produce a harvestful kangkung, then I should try with mine! I almost had a bucketful of tears when the thought of 'closing up' my backyard garden came to mind. I only have one pot of kangkung left, the others are destroyed by you know what! I love kangkung too, really delicious in spicy stir-fry and very good in masak lemak keledek, eaten with sambal belacan. Have not had this in a long time, drooling just thinking about it!
I love your leeks, I have been trying to find the seeds for ages, will have to find in Sg. Buloh. Great harvest, Diana, as always! :)
Hope whatever is troubling you is over by now. Take a look at your beautiful garden and wonderful harvest, smile and be happy. Your kangkung need some sunny smile now that they are really moist :)

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Patricia~It is very easy to grow especially of if it receive a lot of moisture. I think in certain states in America it has been declared as a notorious weed.

Autumn Belle~ It is something that forever will be pass on. I have some tale too that I wish they will stop teasing me too especially when it come to the stage that it will be pass on to our children too;-).

CikManggis~ Salam takziah dari kami sekeluarga. Kuatkan semangat. Saya pun sama.

Chopinmysaucepan~ In Southeast Asia they grow like weeds but does not consider as weed there. but in Florida it is a weed. Fresh harvest is always the best thing.

Sue~Hmm...spinach, Chinese spinach and water spinach does have different shape of leaves.

Mark~ I wonder where Hong Kong get their kangkung from probably from the mainland. Do you like them?

Daphne~ Kangkung might grow well in your place. It grows very fast and don't need hot summer.

Rainfield61~ Kangkung with belacan is the best. Kangkung with dried sotong is also nice.

Malar~ Your kangkung grows really well in your garden. At least monkeys not picking them.

Cat-From-Sydney~We used to buy them too here as they have it all year round. I tried growing them by stem but it did not grow as well as from seeds here.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Milka~ Mom said not too eat kangkung masa pantang. Said kangkung is sejuk like bayam. Oh I don't know about that cramp thing, no one told me before. I had lots of cramping with my 1st pregnancy,hmmm...banyak makan kangkung?

Lrong~ I was kind of surprised when you said you already started to sow them. Thought that since sakura has just started to bloom it will still be cold and the weather temperemental.

Mr. H~ Life is really funny. Things that I don't like which is supposed to be good for me, I just started to appreciate them.

Hughbert~Maybe, just a little bit of salt won't hurt kangkung since they can live in swamp too;-).

Joyce~ I hope from new ideas, one of it can solve your problem with the cats.

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

I would suggest kangkung to any first timer with vegetable gardening... It is fast without much fuss... :)