Cooking with Water Spinach

Water Spinach
Water Spinach

This vegetable has so many names to it. It’s known as Water Spinach, Morning Glory, Pak Boong, Ong Choy, Chinese Spinach, Swamp Cabbage, Kang Kong, and many more. This vegetable is grown for its tender shoots.

It’s incredibly popular in Asian cooking, and really one of my favorite things to eat because of its versatility. At most markets, you’ll see it referred to as “Ong Choy”

The lower part of the stalks are often used as vegetables inside Asian noodle soups. They are flash boiled at serving time, along with the rice noodles and bean sprouts. The upper, more tender parts of the plant, are great as stir fries. I’ve seen people put them inside of omelettes, but also as a dish in itself.

The recipe we’re writing about today is a Thai dish called “Pad Pak Boong Fai Daeng”- or “Red Hot Water Spinach Stir Fry” It’s cooked in a really hot wok, and cooks tend to lower the wok enough so it arcs fire a little bit. Let me tell you, street food is awesome because of little things like that.

Cooking with Water Spinach
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Transplanting Traditions
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
A great Thai stir fry to use up all of that Water Spinach
  • bunch of water spinach (about 2 cups chopped into 2 inch pieces)
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh Thai hot chilis (2 whole hot chilis)
  • 1 tsp soy paste (it’s delicious, but optional)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp white sugar (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp water
  1. Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Give it a quick mix.
  2. Heat up a wok, or large pan to medium-high heat. After it heats for a few moments, add about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the wok. Make sure it’s really hot before you add the Water Spinach mixture.
  3. Add the Water Spinach mixture, and cook it for about 2-4 minutes. It’s an incredibly easy and fast dish to make. Serve it with some hot jasmine rice on the side. Hope you enjoy!