Spicy Water Spinach (Sambal Kangkong): The aromatic spicy sambal sauce used to fry this vegetable is made from chilli, dried shrimp and shallots, and packs a punch when it comes to flavour! A definite MUST-TRY if you love spicy Chinese food!
Toast the dried shrimp paste (belachan) in a toaster, or pan fry it without oil until it becomes aromatic.
Remove the seeds from the dried chillies, fresh chillies and chilli padi.
Soak the dried chilli in hot water for about 10 mins. Then wash and pat dry.
Blend all the chillies and the toasted belachan together, then set aside.
Wash the dried shrimps and soak them in hot water for about 10 mins. Remove the heads, legs and shells from the dried shrimps if any. Then chop them up coarsely and set it aside.
Remove the skin from the shallots and garlic. Then wash and pat dry.
Chop the garlic coarsely and set aside. Next, slice the shallots thinly and set aside.
Holding the bundle of kang kong, measure and cut off 6-7cm from the roots. Discard the bottom half. Then wash the kang kong to get rid of any sandy particles.
Break off the kang kong into 6cm lengths, separating the stems from the leafy sections into different colanders to drain dry.
Mix the 1/4 tsp of cornflour with 1/2 tsp of water and set aside.
In a wok, heat up 4-5 TBsp of oil over medium heat.
Add in the shallots and fry until limp. Then add in the dried shrimp and garlic and fry till aromatic.
Lower the heat and add in the blended chilli-belachan mixture. Continue to fry the ingredients, stirring constantly for about 1-2 mins.
Turn heat to high and add in the kang kong stems, stirring until the stems are well coated with the sambal chilli. Continue to fry the stems until they turn soft. (The 'Spatula Test': Use the metal spatula to cut the stem. If it cuts through easily, the stems are soft enough.)
Next add in the kang kong leaves and mix well with the stems. Pour in 150ml of water and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the leaves wither while the stems remain green.
Give the cornflour mixture a stir before adding it to the kang kong, stirring quickly for a few seconds.
Transfer to the sambal kang kong to a serving plate, and serve hot.