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Stir-fried Water Spinach with Beef/ Chicken/ Tofu

Stir-fried Water Spinach with Beef/ Chicken/ Tofu

Water spinach (also known as morning glory!) is a leafy vegetable that grows in abundance in South East Asia. The prized part of the vegetable is the tender shoots. In most traditional dishes, the majority of the leaves are discarded as too much can give a dish a slimy texture to the dish (although they can totally be eaten! We reckon kids will prefer this veggie without leaves)

This traditional Vietnamese dish can also be made without the protein. Simply stir fry the water spinach with oyster sauce and lots of garlic. Garlic and water spinach go hand-in-hand. We reckon it's an epic meal if you top the dish with some deep-fried garlic for a beautiful and crunchy garnish. You can use fried shallots/onion if you don’t have fried garlic on hand.

When it comes to cooking water spinach, its best to blanch it beforehand. This not only cooks the vegetables evenly without requiring of lot of tossing and consequently, bruising, but it also makes the shoots incredibly tender.


Beef/ Chicken/ Tofu marinade

  • 450g beef, chicken breast, quorn or tofu (thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons chicken/mushroom stock powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely mince)
Water Spinach
  • Handful of Water Spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • Fried garlic/shallots (optional)


  1. Marinate your protein of choice with stock powder, sugar, black pepper, salt and garlic for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Prep the water spinach by cutting off a bit of the old and rough shoot ends. Remove excess leaves and cut into 10cm segments. Separate shoots from leaves as their cooking time differs.
  3. Fill a large frying pan or wok halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Prepare an iced bath (use lots of ice) and place it nearby. Add water spinach to the boiling water and blanch shoots for no more than 1 minute. Blanch leaves for no more than 30 seconds. Quickly transfer to iced bath to maintain vibrant green color and tenderness. Once cool, remove from ice bath and drain dry.
  4. Return frying pan or wok back to the stove. Make sure it's clean and empty. Add vegetable oil (2 tablespoons) and heat on medium-high. Add four minced garlic cloves and saute until fragrant then add the marinated beef/ chicken and fry until it's just cooked though. Do not overcook the beef! Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together oyster sauce and sugar. Set aside.
  6. Clean the wok and return back to stove. Heat another two tablepoons vegetable oil and add the remaining two minced garlic cloves. Saute until fragrant. Add the blanched spinach and oyster sauce mixture. Lightly toss water spinach until evenly coated with oyster sauce. Add your protein back to the wok and lightly toss. Serve with steamed rice and optional soy dipping sauce on the side.
  7. Yum!


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