Rau Muong Xao Toi – GARLIC Stir-Fried Water Spinach

I can’t tell you how many generations back this semi-aquatic plant has fed, but it’s still a favorite in my house and forever will be. It’s native to Southeast Asia and considered as poor man’s food since they grow abundantly in swamps and rural areas.

They’re usually frown upon and now even been banned from most restaurants due to the unsanitary ways it was grown. Regardless, what you don’t know, won’t kill you. Since the ban, it makes this plant even more valuable to the palate because they stopped selling it at the grocery stores. So you can’t just go buy them, you would have to know someone who grows them or grow your own. I don’t have the green thumb, I just happened to know the right people. 🙂

I was given the best of the batch, the young tender tips, which is super delicious when stir-fried. I find this method the best way to really enjoy this plant. It’s refreshing and crunchy and I’m all about texture.


1 Bunch of Water Spinach
5-6 cloves garlic, mashed (minced is fine)
2 tbsp. fish sauce


Rinse the water spinach well. I usually have a colander inside a bigger bowl and let it sit for about 10-15 min. with water filled to the rim. The dirt will basically drops to the bottom of the bowl.

Smash your garlic by placing the clove on a cutting mat and placing a flat knife on top and smash with your hand. There are safer ways to do this, but I’m used to it.

In a sizzling hot wok, drizzle about 2 tbsp. of oil and put in the garlic and stir quickly so you won’t burn the garlic.

Immediately dump the water spinach into the wok and stir. The wok should be sizzling at this point. Put in the fish sauce and stir evenly. The water spinach only takes a few minutes before it starts wilting so be sure not to overcook it.


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