Photo Credit: Tha Dah Wah
DESCRIPTION: When it gets too hot for most spring greens like kale, chard, and collards, they fade in the blazing sun to make room for their heat-loving Asian cousins like water spinach. TTCF farmers love growing Asian greens for their customers and for their families. Water spinach is a very popular green that you can cook much like you would regular spinach. It is delicious in a stir-fry or sautéed over high heat with some garlic and ginger.
Cooked water spinach has a nutty flavor and silky texture. You can eat the tender parts of the stems and all the leaves. Start by chopping off the largest parts of the stems and toss those in the compost. Then chop the more tender part of the stems into small pieces and finally give the leaves a rough chop. Heat some oil in a skillet or wok, add plenty of minced garlic and ginger, if you have it, and a minced chili pepper if you like. The stems will take longer to cook than the leaves so toss them into the pan before the leaves to give them a head start. Cook, stirring, for just a few minutes until wilted and tender. If adding to a soup or curry, toss the leaves in at the last minute, as they cook very quickly.
STORAGE: Store in an open bag in the veggie drawer of your fridge. Eat water spinach within 3-4 days.
RECIPE: Jen's Egg Drop Soup with Water Spinach
- 2 quarts chicken or mushroom broth
- 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ tsp white pepper (optional)
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, diced or sliced thin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Handful of sliced green onions
- 1 cup chopped spinach, water spinach or swiss chard
- Note: This recipe is versatile. You can add in different vegetables, like diced turnips, summer squash or daikon radish and it works wonderfully every time.
Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and cook until the onions soften up a bit, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the soy sauce, chicken broth, and white pepper and bring to a low boil over medium high heat. Once it’s boiling, stir the broth as you pour in the beaten eggs. Pour slowly – it should make ribbons of cooked egg. Turn the heat off and stir in the spinach. Let it sit for a minute until it wilts. Add the green onions and serve.
RECIPE: Spicy Stir-Fried Eggplant, Tofu and Water Spinach (Ong Choy) from NY Times Cooking
- 1 long Asian eggplant, about 3/4 pound
- 1 12-ounce bunch water spinach (ong choy) (substitute regular spinach if water spinach is unavailable; stem and wash leaves, and chop coarsely)
- 1 14-ounce box firm tofu, drained and cut in 3/4 inch x 2-inch dominoes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (more if desired)
- 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
- ¼ cup vegetable stock or water
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons peanut, canola, rice bran or grape seed oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, minced
- 1 sweet red onion, sliced
- 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score down to but not through the skin. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil, lightly oil the foil and place the eggplant on it cut side down. Roast for 15 minutes, until the skin begins to shrivel. Remove from the oven, transfer to a colander and let the eggplant drain, cut-side down, while you prepare the other ingredients. Then cut the eggplant in half down the middle and into 3/4–inch pieces.
- Meanwhile, drain and dry the tofu slices on paper towels and prepare the water spinach. Cut or break away the bottom 2 inches of the stalks. Break off the thicker, bottom part of the stems and wash thoroughly in 2 changes of water. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Spin in a salad spinner, then place on several thicknesses of paper towels to dry. Wash the leafy top part of the greens in 2 changes of water, spin dry twice, and chop coarsely. Place separately on paper towels to drain.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, and stock or water. Add the salt and sugar and stir until dissolved. Combine the garlic, ginger and chiles in another bowl. Have all the ingredients within arm’s length of your pan.
- Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch steel skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two when added to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil by pouring it down the sides of the pan and swirling the pan, then add the tofu and stir-fry until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- Swirl in the remaining oil, add the garlic, ginger and chiles and stir-fry for no more than 10 seconds. Add the red onion and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the eggplant and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, until all of it is tender. Add the water spinach stems and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the spinach leaves, stir-fry for about 30 seconds and add the soy sauce mixture. Stir-fry for 1 minute, until the spinach has wilted, return the tofu to the wok along with cilantro. Stir together for a few seconds to amalgamate and remove from the heat. Serve with rice or noodles.
Stir Fried Water Spinach Two Ways
Kolmi Shak Bhaja
Chinese Water Spinach Curry