Kangkong, or Ipomoea aquatica, is a common leafy vegetable in Indonesia. Kangkong is super easy to cook. Maybe that’s why we Indonesian love this veggie. It tastes good too. It gives satisfying crunch when you chew it. Plus, it is quite cheap here.
When I still at my bachelor study in Agronomy and Horticulture, we get for patch of land to plant vegetables as part of a class. We were divided into four groups and planted different vegetable. Spinach group, Caisim group, Pak choy group, and kangkong group. We planted and took care of the vegetables, harvested it, and sell it. The richest group was the kangkong group! Kangkong is super easy to grow in lowland tropics like Bogor. Their crop grew beautifully, and yield a lot. Plus, it is so much easier to sell kangkong. Most of eating place around campus want to buy it.
The runner up for the vegetables selling class was spinach group. Spinach also quite easy to grow. My group was Caisim group. It was not grown so well, and what we have harvested mostly eaten among ourselves. Hehehe.. Pak choy group patch of land are the saddest. We couldn’t figure out why Pak choy grew so poorly there. Maybe bad seed? Bad patch of land? Nevermind, it was still a good experience.
Kangkong is rich in mineral calcium and iron. It also has potassium, vitamin C, B2 and K. So, how do I usually cook kangkong? Simply made kangkong stir fry. I use shallot, garlic, chili (the three must have in Indonesian kitchen), add “terasi” or shrimp paste, oyster sauce, salt and sugar. And I also use tomato just because I love tomato.
Terasi is made from fermented shrimp and/or fish. Gross? Maybe. But it add that unique flavor that make the kangkong stir fry even more delicious. Terasi is widely use in Southeastern Asia cuisine. Before I use it, I burnt the terasi over stove fire to bring out the aroma. I pinch the terasi with fork and grill it.
Next, I blend together shallot, garlic, chili, and grilled terasi and a half cup of water with blender. You can also slice the shallot, garlic, and chili. Then with some cooking oil saute them with the terasi. But I like the quick way. Blend them all! Then, put out your wok, and start cooking.
Add cooking oil to the wok, then your blended shallots and friend, cook for a minute until you can smell the tasty aroma. Then add salt, sugar, and oyster sauce. Mix. Then add your chopped kangkong. I use four bunch of kangkong and it looked it was too much. But worry not. The kangkong will shrink.
I don’t add water for kangkong stir fry, because when I blend the shallots I aready use enough water. Plus we only cook kangkong in short time. If I add more water, there’ll be not enough time to reduce the water and we’ll end up with watery stir fry.
Gently, turn your kangkong stir fry so the heat can distribute evenly. After about three minutes, the kangkong started srinking. And I add tomato. Cook for another one minute and that’s it!
Kangkong stir fry usually eaten with rice and protein dish. Fried fish, fried tofu and tempeh, all goes well with it. The only problem with kangkong stir fry is, you cannot keep them for a long time. It was best eaten directly and not for reheating. If you reheat it, the kangkong will lose their crunchy texture, the water will turn dark, and not as appetizing. Freshly cooked kangkong is the best.
- 4 bunch of kangkong
- 3 pcs chili
- 1 small block of terasi
- 5 pcs shallot
- 3 pcs garlic
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 pcs tomato
- salt to taste
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- Wash and chop kangkong and tomato
- Grill terasi block over stove
- Blend together shallot, garlic, water, and terasi
- Cook the blended ingredients with cooking oil for one minute
- Add oyster sauce, salt, and sugar
- Add chopped kangkong, stir gently..cook until it shrinks for about three minutes
- Add tomato, stir. Cook for another one minute.
- Kangkong stir fry is ready.