Pak Boong Fai Daeng | Stir-Fried Morning Glory

Yields: 2 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 5 Mins Cook Time: 10 Mins Total Time: 15 Mins

Okay first of all, to be accurate, this dish should be called pad pak boong fai daeng. Pad is stir-fried. Pak boong is water spinach aka Chinese morning glory aka kang kong. And fai daeng is fire red, referring to the blazing flame under the wok. But because so many Thai dish names are colloquial, it is usually shortened to remove the pad. The boong is also not really a long oo sound but a cross between oo and u, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I digress! Probably because there is not much to say about this dish. This is a perfectly simple way to cook kang kong. I prefer this over sambal kang kong or adobong kang kong because it retains the fresh flavour of the water spinach. It is also reminiscent of the Teochew influence in Thai cuisine, because it uses fermented yellow bean paste. This dish is often called stir-fried morning glory in Thailand, although this vegetable is seldom called that anywhere else.

There is a common Southeast Asian superstition that if you eat too much kang kong, you will suffer from leg cramps. A reason may be the TCM principle where kang kong is considered a cooling vegetable. So, eating too much of it might make you chilly and more prone to cramps. Luckily, Filipinos don’t seem to suffer from this ailment. They basically eat kang kong for free because it grows prolifically on river banks. Pak boong fai daeng is a fantastically cheap dish that costs me less than US$1 to make. I think the garlic was the most expensive ingredient!

Love kang kong? Check out Lemongrass Tofu with Kangkong!

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0/9 Ingredients
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  • Sauce Ingredients


0/9 Instructions
  • Kangkong normally is sold in bunches and there is some universal guide by green grocers on how to bunch kangkong. So just use one bunch. Wash thoroughly as you can get sand inside the stems. Separate the leaves and stems.
  • Prepare the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
  • Pound the garlic and finger chillies roughly until they are in chunks. You can also slice if you like, but it doesn't taste as good.
  • Heat the oil until smoking then add the garlic and chillies and toss.
  • Add the kangkong stems and toss for one minute.
  • Add the sauce ingredients and toss for one minute.
  • Add the leaves and the water or stock and toss until the leaves are wilted.
  • There should be a little bit of 'juice' left when you stop frying. The stems should still be crunchy but not raw.
  • Enjoy hot with plain rice.


#chilli  #kangkong  

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