by Grace Young
Water spinach is nothing like the the spinach your thinking of (at least to those unfamiliar with Asian cuisine). Water spinach has long narrow leaves and hollow stalks, and the flavor is milder than regular spinach.
Did you know that water spinach is from the Morning Glory family? And that this plant requires a permit to be grown in the United States according to Worldcrops.org, for it is considered to be a federal noxious weed? A mighty tasty weed, if I may say so myself.
Interestingly enough, you can buy water spinach seeds from Amazon (what can you not get?). I did not see any disclaimer about needing a permit. Then again, I did not try to add it to my shopping cart - maybe at check out it states that fact.. maybe.
Mise en place.
Bowl 1: Garlic
Bowl 2: Water Spinach
Bowl 3: Fermented bean curd, dry sherry
Bowl 4: Salt, sugar
This was an incredibly easy recipe. All that is required, is you rinse your water spinach, trim it, cut it into four-inch lengths, and spin-dry it in a salad spinner (ingredients should always be dry as possible to avoid hot oil splatters). Mix your bean curd (as Grace mentioned on one of our FB posts, don't be put off by the scent of the bean curd; and I can attest to the fact that it is a bit nasty smelling... but in the end, it tasted fabulous) with some dry sherry (or rice wine), roughly chop your garlic, and combine a bit of salt and sugar together.
As usual, you start by stir-frying your aromatics (garlic in this case), add the spinach and cook until it is starting to wilt, add the bean curd mixture, the salt and sugar. Viola! You have a delicious side dish to any meal you see fit. I served it alongside leftover pasta. Italian - Chinese... I have always been on the eccentric side; and it goes with what Andy's mom always insisted on - having a green vegetable on the plate. Works for me.
I have a small confession to make - as I was preparing this dish taking mental notes, I thought to myself, I'm not going to care much for this dish for I'm not a fan of "stalky" vegetables. You know when greens are cooked, they wilt to nothing, leaving only the hard, chewy, sometimes fibrous stems - not my thing - and not in this case! I could have easily eaten the whole thing in one sitting - on its own - with nothing else - and I would have been happy.
I always have a hard time with conveying my thoughts on how to describe the taste... I'm the same way when I go to the doctor - how to describe what I am feeling - "I don't feel well - fix me!"
I'll try (try, being the operative word here): This dish has a mellow, earthy flavor, with a bit of saltiness - kinda reminiscent of miso soup - kinda - in the background kinda way (OK, enough of the word, kinda). It is best served warm, however, I thought it was just as delicious cold, while I sat here polishing it off as I wrote this post. Yeah. This was good.
You'll just have to take my word for it, that is was delicious, or go buy the book and a wok, and make it for yourself. And if you do, please leave me a comment on what you thought of this recipe.
The recipes in this book continue to amaze me. With just a few ingredients, you can have such a delicious outcome. I just can't say enough good things about Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge. Best book yet!
We are asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 211 of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.