Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Rau Muong/Ong Choy Xao Toi Chao (Vietnamese/Chinese Water Spinach Stir-fried with Garlic and Fermented Bean Curd)
Updated from the archives October 21, 2009:
I love rau muong (Vietnamese water spinach) or ong choy in Chinese. It's also called morning glory and empty-hearted vegetable on account of the hollow stems. Crunchy. Refreshing. Loaded with vitamin A.
It's native to Southeast Asia, and is considered poor man's food in Vietnam because it grows plentifully in swamps. Rau muong is readily available in Asian grocery stores, quite inexpensive, and cooks in minutes. The hardest part is taking the time to pluck the hollowed stems into sections. Pluck by hand to keep the leaves whole.
I like it best stir-fried with chao/doufu ru (Vietnamese/Chinese fermented bean curd). A little goes a long way, so just one or two cubes of these salty, flavor-packed cubes of fermented tofu is all you'll need.
Rau Muong Xao Toi Voi Chao (Vietnamese Water Spinach Stir-fried with Garlic and Fermented Bean Curd)
1 bunch rau muong/ong choy (Vietnamese/Chinese water spinach)
2 cubes of chao/doufu ru (Vietnamese/Chinese fermented bean curd), or more according to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced, or more according to taste
Pluck rau muong. Water spinach has long, arrow-shaped leaves. The stem has segments. Just remove the bottom few inches of stem, where it can tend to be woody. Save those to make rau muong chua (Vietnamese pickled water spinach) if you'd like. Separate the rest into 2- or 3-inch segments. Wash and set aside.
On high heat, in a wok or saute pan, add garlic to a small amount of oil. When garlic is softened, add fermented bean curd cubes and mash with a spoon. Add rau muong and toss so that garlic and fermented bean curd are evenly distributed. Rau muong should only take a few minutes to just wilt and will reduce greatly in volume.
Serve with rice.
Now, let's just see my original photo. OK, it wasn't as bad as some others, but still could stand some improvement.