Spicy Water Spinach (balancan Kangkung)

I believe that Balancan Kangkung is one Malaysia specialty. There are so many way to cook balancan kangkung. Some people will make the balance mixture from scratch where they pound all the garlic, shallot, chilies and etc with a mortar. Other simple versions include chopping the garlic and chillies with knife, and mix the cube balancan with water and stir fry all ingredient together. For me, I always use the Hup Loong pre-mix balancan powder for the heat and add more some dried shrimp and balance powder.

Last week, I wanted to try something new. I saw this recipe from a cookbook call The Food of Asia and decided to give it a try. The only I omitted from the original recipe is the sesame oil. I don't recall my family adds sesame oil when they cook this dish in so many versions and I think this dish will taste great without it.

  • 2 lb Kangkung (water spinach)
  • 3 tbsp dried shrimp, soak soften
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 6 shallots
  • 2 tsp sambal olek
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 tsp dried shrimp paste powder (Balancan)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt to taste

  • Blend dried shrimp until fine.
  • Blend garlic, ginger and shallot until fine.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add garlic mixture and dried shrimp. Cook over low heat. Stir frequently for 5 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add sugar, soy sauce and mix well.
  • Add kangkung and stir well.
  • Turn up the heat to high and cover pan with lid until kangkung is tender.
  • Seasoned with salt to taste.
The dish does taste great but I prefer the my shotcut version.

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