Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stir fry belacan kangkung (dried shrimp paste & water spinach)

This is the side dish for our last night dinner.  It compliments very well with the vegetarian pineapple fried rice.  This dish has a sophisticated name in some Chinese Restaurant called “Ma loi fung kong” in Cantonese.  Literally means “Visit Malaysia” .  The Chinese are really good at giving auspicious names to their dishes especially those traditional Chinese New Year dishes. There is one dish that has "hoe see" (dried oysters) and fatt choy (Nostoc flagelliforme) and they named it “Hoe see fatt choy” which sounded the same in Cantonese as Good riddance and prosperity. Interesting isn’t it?  There are also some funny names given to some dishes like "hut yee kai" (Beggar’s Chicken).  Of course, there is always a story behind these names. For the Beggar’s Chicken, it seems a homeless, starving beggar was wandering along the street and saw a chicken.  As he was hungry and desperate for food and he had no stove, he covered the chicken in mud, baked it over a fire he made.  While he was eating the chicken, an Emperor passed by and he smelled the aroma of the baked chicken. The Emperor stopped and dined with the beggar and asked the beggar what is the name of the dish. Without thinking the beggar told him the name is "Beggar's chicken". So when the Emperor returned to his palace, he ordered his kitchen to add this dish to the list of dishes served at the Imperial court.  Oh, I am suppose to give you the recipe for belacan kangkung so why am I talking about Beggar’s chicken? There you go!

400 grammes of kangkong.
2 ½ tbs vegetable oil

2 tbs belacan (dried shrimp paste) grilled
3 tbs chilly paste
6 shallots, peeled
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt (optional according to individual taste)

Prepare belacan mix as follows. Add (A) in a mortar pound / blend them. Blanch kangkung in boiling water 30 secs and quickly dip into cold bath.  Drain all the water and set aside. Heat oil in wok and (A) mixture and stir quickly whilst reducing to medium heat. Once belacan mix is fragrant and slightly brown, increase heat to high and add kangkung. Stir briskly till kangkung is slighjtly limp and you can transfer to the serving plate.  

Note:  Add a little water if the dish is too dry for your liking. (I like mine dry so I did not add any water). 


  1. Chinese love to put meaning into food. Love shrimp paste....thanks for sharing how to make it work.

  2. Belinda,
    Grilling the belacan first before using is the trick. Oh, the other thing is to blanch the kangkung first and dipping them into cold bath is very important to retain the crunchiness of the vege plus give it a brighter green color.

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  4. Lol, thanks for that info on the names! I would never have known otherwise. This dish looks deeeelicious! Can't wait to see more of your recipes.

  5. Hi Roxan,
    There are many variation of cooking kangkung. Will share the recipes on other variation with you soon. Do come back when you have the time to check it out. Have a wonderful day.

  6. This is great, one of my fave food!

  7. Hi Shirley,
    Malaysian loves kangkung but hopefully we does not resemble kangkung when making decisions because kangkung follows the wind direction and the stem is hollow and not solid! My 2 cents... hehe

  8. This and nasi lemak would be awesome. Maybe it is time to visit Chinatown this weekend!!!

  9. Maya,
    Thanks for your visit. You are so right! This is a MUST HAVE with nasi lemak.

  10. I notice that the ingredients for part (A) are 2 tbs dried shrimp paste and further down 4 tsp belacan (dried shrimp paste). Is this 2 tbs + 4 tsp of the same paste, or are they different? Thanks!

  11. It seems nice and healthy dish ,

    Are you aware of the game ? i tagged you , come and join us:)

  12. What a great story! This sounds like such a delicious side dish. Gorgeous picture, too!

  13. Hi Anonymous,
    Thank you for spotting the mistake. I have corrected it. They are the same:D

  14. Hi Yesim,
    Thanks for your visit and tagging me for the game. I will check it out.

  15. Hi Koci,
    Welcome to my blog and hope you will be my regular visitor so that we can exchange ideas and share great stories. Have a wonderful week.


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