Indonesian Water Spinach (Vegetarian)

Indonesian Water Spinach

I have quite a few Indonesian recipes in my “To Try” list and made Indonesian water spinach for an afternoon lunch. Wow! It would be perfect as a side dish, but I had it on its own with flakey Malaysian style paratha (frozen from the Indian market). Loved the combination of the water spinach and flakey paratha!

I used this recipe on Foodista, omitting the shrimp and shrimp paste and upping the amount of fermented soybeans. I was really impressed with the fermented soybeans I used. I have tried other types of fermented soy bean and soy bean pastes and they have all been especially “beany”. This had a really nice umami flavor without that taste I don’t like! Its a keeper!¬†They didn’t have any fresh long red chilis at the Thai market, so I used samal oelek instead which is just chilis, salt and vinegar.

Fermented Soybean

To Grind
6 shallots
3 garlic cloves
1 inch galangal
2 tablespoons sambal oelek (or 5 long red chilis)
2 tablespoons fermented soybean

Other Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Indonesian bay leaf (optional)
2 pounds water spinach stems washed and cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon natural tamarind paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce

  1. Grind all the ingredients to grind in a food processor or grinder (or use a mortar and pestle).
  2. Heat oil in a wok on high and add the bay leaf and grinded ingredients. Stir constantly until the raw smell goes away.
  3. Add the water spinach, stems first for a couple of minutes to get it wilted enough to add the leaves, then add the leaves. Throw in the tamarind paste and soy sauce and carefully stir until everything is wilted but the stems still slightly crunchy. At first it will seem like it doesn’t all fit, but after a little stirfrying it shrinks a lot!

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