Saturday, August 28, 2010

Asian Greens.

Ok, so here's one that may or may not be local. I'm pretty convinced that Kan Kong wouldn't be shipped all the way from Asia, because it would be revolting by the time it reached Germany, but I don't know in which greenhouse it was grown, so really, it could be from anywhere. I cooked this a few weeks back, before I decided that it was time to eat locally, when I discovered some fresh greens in my local Asian Supermarket. The fruit and veg selection there tends to be pretty unpredictable, so I capitalise on what's good when I can. At the moment, while I'm doing my best to eat locally produced food, I'm only shopping for fruit and vegetables at the market twice a week, so I'll just relive the deliciousness through these photos.

Kan Kong (otherwise known as Kang Kong, plus a long list of other names that are much harder to pronnounce, apart maybe from "Water Spinach") has long, hollow stems that retain their characteristic crunch when stir-fried. It has a strong flavour, with more bite to it than other Asian greens like bok choy. It doesn't have that same watery quality. It's perfectly capable of holding its own in a dish with a strong or salty sauce, and it's great stir fried.

I made this just as an easy dinner, to eat with some rice. On the rare occasion that I get my hands on fresh Asian greens, they get cooked without fuss or embellishment. I prefer to revel in the flavour of the greens, enjoying it all the more because I know it'll be a long time before I eat it again. This batch was cooked with garlic, ginger, and chilli - I think I added some soy sauce, too. Simple, delicious and fresh. I see Australia as a potential part of Asia, and despite European colonisation, the country is incredibly multicultural. That brings together a great food culture, and in Adelaide, my favourite restaurants are all Asian. For me, these are the flavours of home.

Stir-fried Asian Greens

1 bunch Kan Kong or other Asian greens
1-2 tsp finely chopped (or mashed) garlic
1-2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp chilli paste (sambal oelek is great), or siracha sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
1 tsp oil (not olive! choose an oil with a high smoking point)

Heat oil in a wok. Add garlic, ginger and chilli, sauteeing until fragrant.
Throw in your washed, chopped greens. Stir-fry for a few moments, until greens are beginning to wilt.
Add soy sauce to taste - remember that you can always add more later.
Cook until leaves are wilted, but stems retain some bite - shouldn't be more than a couple of minutes.
Serve with rice. Coconut rice is a good accompaniment, if you have the inclination.

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