3 Kang Kong Recipes

water spinach

3 simple Kang kong recipes in Chinese style

Kang kong has many names. It is most commonly called water spinach. A ubiquitous vegetable in Southeast Asia. It grows easily and quickly and is packed with important vitamins and minerals which is why it is such an important vegetable in Southeast Asia.

Water spinach is commonly mixed up with Chinese spinach. It is quite easy to spot water spinach. It has elongated arrow-like leaves and hollow stems. If the stems aren’t hollow, it isn’t water spinach.

Image source: Yamaguchi 先生 [Public domain]

There are many Kang kong recipes in Thai, Filipino, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodian cuisine. Here is a couple which is influenced by Chinese cooking:

Kang Kong Fried in Garlic

This is the easiest way to enjoy water spinach. Stir-fry them in garlic and a little oil.

Water spinach stirfry

Here is a picture of a version cooked by FotoosVanRobin.


  • A big bunch of water spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, julienned
  • 1 tbsp red chilli, julienned
  • salt and pepper
  • soy sauce
  • cooking oil


  1. Cut and wash the water spinach into 3-inch pieces
  2. Heat some oil in a wok
  3. Add the garlic and ginger
  4. Fry until they are fragrant
  5. Add the water spinach and fry them until it softens and shrinks
  6. Add the soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste

Kang Kong with Ground Pork


  • A big bunch of water spinach
  • 150g ground pork
  • 5 small red chillies
  • A clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of Shaoxing 绍兴 wine
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch solution
  • Cooking oil


  • 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar


  1. Remove the roots of the water spinach and cut into finger-length sections
  2. Wash thoroughly and drain dry
  3. Wash the chillies and slice thinly with seeds removed
  4. Slice the shallot thinly
  5. Mix 2 tbsp cornstarch powder with 2 tbsp water
  6. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add some sugar and cooking oil into the water
  7. Blanch the water spinach for a few minutes
  8. Remove and drain well
  9. Arrange the water spinach on the serving plate
  10. Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a wok
  11. Fry the shallots until they are crispy
  12. Remove from oil and keep aside
  13. Add the chopped garlic, ground pork and chillies and fry till the mix is fragrant
  14. Mix the ingredients of the seasonings together and add to the wok
  15. Stir fry to mix and add the cornstarch solution and the Shaoxing wine
  16. Remove the ground pork from the heat and spread it on top of the water spinach
  17. Sprinkle the deep fried shallot before serving

Water Spinach with Fermented Tofu

Fermented tofu is commonly served as a side dish for plain white rice congee. It can also be used as an ingredient to flavour vegetable dishes.

There are basically 2 types: red and white although there can be some variations depending on the ingredients added during the fermenting process. The white one typically has a milder flavour.


  • A big bunch of water spinach
  • 2 pieces of white fermented tofu 腐乳 (furu)
  • 1 tsp of chopped garlic
  • 4 small red chillies


  • 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water


  1. Cut the water spinach into small sections. I usually use my hands to pinch sections off. Start from the top and pinch a section of stem containing a few leaves and keep going until only the stalk is left. Discard the stalks
  2. Wash thoroughly and drain in a colander
  3. Slice the chillies, remove the seeds and cut into small pieces,
  4. Heat 1 tbsp cooking oil in a wok and gently fry the garlic, fermented tofu and chillies until fragrant
  5. Add the water spinach and seasonings and stir fry quickly until well combined. I would do a taste test first before adding the soy sauce. Depending on the saltiness of the fermented tofu used, it could already be sufficiently salty without the soy sauce.
  6. Plate and serve hot