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Fried Vegetarian Sambal Water Spinach - Sambal Kangkung


Vegetarian Sambal Kangkung

Vegetarian Sambal Spinach

© Dennis K H Sim, licensed to About.com

This very popular vegetable dish is a top choice at meal-times in Malaysia. It is commonly prepared with prawn paste or belachan and dried prawns, both of which have been omitted in this vegetarian version. Typically served together with a couple of meat dishes, a soup and rice.

(This recipe serves 2 people)


  • 1 lb water convolvulus or water spinach (also called kangkung)
  • 12 sliced shallots or small onions
  • 5 sliced large fresh red chilies
  • 3 dried red chilies
  • 3 sliced bird’s eye chilies or hot chili peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp roughly chopped candlenuts or macadamias or cashews
  • 2-3 Tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste


Soak the dried chilies in water until they become soft. Drain the water. Slice the chilies in half down its length and remove all the seeds. Cut the chilies into strips.

Cut the water spinach into 3 inch lengths, separating the stem from the leafy part of the vegetable.


  1. On low heat, fry the shallots or onions in 2 Tbsp of oil until golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and carry on frying on low heat for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the dried chilies together with the nuts and fry for another 30 seconds. Make sure that there is sufficient oil in the wok – all the ingredients should be covered in oil. If not, add another tablespoon of oil.
  4. Turn the heat up to high, and add the stems of the spinach. Fry for about half a minute.
  5. Add the spinach leaves, the bird’s eye chili and the fresh red chilies. Fry for about one minute on high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of water and salt to taste.
  6. Serve with plain boiled rice or noodles.

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