Stir-Fried Water Spinach with Garlic and Chiles

  • Serves

    serves 4

  • Cook

    15 minutes

By SAVEUR Editors

Published on March 26, 2019

Be sure to have your mise en place ready for this side dish, as it cooks in a matter of minutes. Start with the garlic, followed by the chiles and kangkong, and finally the flavorings

Water spinach, also known as kangkong (Tagalog) or ong choy (Cantonese), is usually available in Asian grocery stores and greenmarkets. In this Filipino-inspired side dish, the greens are gently braised in a wok, along with vinegar, garlic, chiles, and soy sauce. Serve alongside fried or stewed meats, or our Quick Filipino-Style Rib-Eye Steaks. The vegetable's hollow, crispy stems are a satisfying vehicle for juicy sauces, though the same method can be used to cook chard or baby spinach.

What You Will Need


  • 1 tbsp. coconut or canola oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced (1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 red Thai chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced (1 Tbsp.)
  • 1 bunch kangkong, rinsed and sliced into 3-inch lengths, large stems removed (about 9 cups)
  • 2 tbsp. coconut vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

In a large wok set over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. When the oil is melted and hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 1–2 minutes. Add the chiles and kangkong and toss quickly, then stir in the vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. Cover the wok and steam until the greens are just wilted and tender at the stem, 3–4 minutes. Uncover and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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