CF 29/60 Asian Spinach with Shrimps & Dried Chilies2015-01-20
- Cuisine: Malaysian, Singaporean, South-east Asian, Thai
- Course: Main Course, Side Dish
- Skill Level: Easy, Moderate
- Servings : 2
- Prep Time : 10m
- Cook Time : 8m
- Ready In : 18m
400g Asian spinach leafy part
200g raw Shrimps or Prawns shelled
6g dried chillies left whole
10g fresh ginger peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic peeled and grated
1 level teaspoon salt or to taste
2 tablespoon oil
There are a variety of Asian spinach that can be bought these days. The one in this recipe (see picture) also comes in a purple/red colour too. Most Asian grocers would stock this spinach. Wash it and remove the leaves with the thin stems away from the main thick stem. The thick stems is also okay to use provided you are cooking this dish for longer than the specified time. If you are not familiar with this spinach to know if the spinach is young or old then it is best only to use the leafy parts.
In a fry pan or wok heat the oil on high then add to it the ginger, garlic and the chili and stir for a minute till the mixture is golden then add the shrimps or prawns and stir for 30 seconds, now add the spinach and salt and stir well and cover. Cook for roughly 6 minutes stirring it twice during cooking. Enjoy with a bowl of rice. Omit the prawns if you wish this dish to be vegan/vegetarian.
Variations and My Story
As explained in the method that the age of the spinach is only recognized by a person who is familiar with this type of spinach or has known it from childhood like I have. If the thicker stems are old it would be more woody and the best way to check is to see it snaps easily if it is bent like you would test asparagus. Any stem that wouldn’t budge when trying to bend it is obviously too stringy and woody and will not be tasty and will take much longer to cook.
I grew up learning a lot about many varieties of spinach from my mother’s garden and that is the reason why I am passing my knowledge on to others as she passed it on to me. This is a very ordinary dish but well-deserving of appreciation because often the simplest things in life are the most rewarding. In Malaysia a dish like this would be eaten simply over rice accompanied with fried fish or egg of some sort and a side dish of sambal. My mother would have chopped the leaves into smaller pieces but I prefer leaving it long, in a Chinese household long vegies are even better when using chopsticks for this dish. Dried chilies give a slightly smokey flavour to this dish and the chilies can be cut into bite size pieces if they are a longer variety unless they are the size of bird chilies. When dried chilies are left whole it delivers the smokey taste to the dish but not the heat. Enjoy the simple pleasures with each mouthful.
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