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November 24, 2004



hey, that plate of kangkong looks authentic, although you're right about the rempah being a bit too fine. For me, I like to see the chunky red chilli bits and dried shrimp. They look appetising and provide more bite and taste. Great first attempt, Reid!


It looks like restaurant quality to me! yum yum~



This dish resembles what I recall as being "comfort food" my mother made way back in my childhood days. "Ung choy" or "swamp cabbage" as we called it back then, was substituted with watercress and "ham ha" or what you are calling "blachan" was used for the shrimp paste. To me, this was considered more "village food" rather than restaurant cuisine but then many years ago at Patty's in the Alsa Moana Shopping Center, I saw it offered as one of their entrees. But I do know they don't serve it here in LA because I've yet to see it on any menus. In any case, the thing is delicious!


Reid, your first attempt looks good and its a good thing you did not add the water. I thought it is a bit strange that the recipe calls for so much water for a vegetable stir fry.

Another thing I will do is to toast the belacan before adding to the rempah. If you do not want to toast, fry the belacan and hebi before adding chilli and garlic to the wok. That will bring out the flavour.


Hi Julia,

Thanks for the compliment. I was surprised at how good it tastes and I was glad that I added the additional chillies, otherwise, I don't think that it would have been spicy enough for me. I'm going to try this again sometime soon and not grind the spices so fine.

Hi pinkcocoa,

Thank you. *blush*

I wish I had enough talent or patience to cook all the time. I'd love to be a restaurant owner or chef.

Hi Clinton,

I remember eating ung choy with harm ha and pork. You could smell the shrimp sauce a mile away. Unlike harm ha which is a liquid, blachan is a paste that is sold in blocks. In my opinion, the tastes are very different. I like the flavor of blachan with ground shrimp and chillies better if only because it's spicy.

Hi ST,

I was wondering the same thing, but even though I didn't add water, there was a bit of gravy left in the bottom of the pan, no doubt from the kangkong itself.

I've read about "toasting" the blachan first before grinding and I'm going to try that next time. Thanks for the tips and for the compliment!


Have you tried the ones in the Chinese restaurants where they use fermented bean curd to stir fry the kangkong? Unrelated to kangkong here - Happy Thanksgiving Reid!

fish fish

Good post Reid. I really miss kangkong like crazy. Here, a small plate belachan kangkong in Malaysian restaurant cost RM35. Too expensive. Saw in supermarket before, but 2 sticks for RM3. Crazy!!
Hey, ST is rite. My mum like to toast the belachan a bit first, bring out the 'fragrance'. And water is a big no no for kangkung, as itself got many water oledi.
U know the word 'hebi' makes me laugh. Cause at first, I thougt it was Japanese 'Hebi', which means snake. Then I recall, it is Hokkien 'Hebi'. :P


wow reid, well done on yr first attempt! looked so yummy and crunchy just the way it was supposed to be


Hi Shirley,

No, I haven't had kangkong stir-fried with fermented bean curd. What does it taste like? I'll keep an eye out for it and will let you know if I do try it.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

Hi fish fish,

WOW! I didn't realize that veggies were so expensive in Kyoto! I would miss eating this too if I were you. Maybe you can make other types of veggies with belachan? By the way, the bunch of kangkong that I used to make this was US$1.00.

Now that everyone's mentioned toasting the belachan first, I'm going to make sure to do that next time! =)

Hi babe_kl,

Nice to hear from you again! It's been a while. Thanks for the compliment. I liked this so much that I could probably eat this at least once a week.


The sambal kangkong looks like the ones .. i used to eat.. and loved..!! I missed it so much too.. like fish, fish.
But no kangkong here.. and no belachan.. so out goes my dream of cooking this dish ever here.. :(
Oh well.. i'll survive..hehe!!


Hi MrsTweety,

I'm sorry that you can't get kangkong in Nova Scotia. This is the first time that I tried making this dish and I really liked it a lot. I'm going to try and make more dishes from this book and others that I have. Stay tuned for more home cooking posts in the weeks to come.


when mike first visited singapore and had this dish, he just about fell out of his chair because it was so good. the malaysian restaurant here makes it but for $8.50, I can make a lot of it on my own.

great job, reid! Shiok is great cookbook with great pics by Christopher Tan. I don't own it but I do own Terry Tan's Nonya Cooking. another one to look out for is Sylvia Tan's [she used to be married to Terry] Singapore Heritage Food - it has authentic street food recipes and old recipes that my mum used to enjoy in her hey days :)


Hey.. Reid.. :)

"Stay tuned for more home cooking posts in the weeks to come"

Yer trying to make me homesick..?? hehe!!


Hi Stef,

You're right, this is really, really good and so simple to make. I can imagine how expensive the food is there because the food can be just as expensive here. I'm going to try and cook one recipe a week, preferably on the weekend since I'm not familiar with the dishes and it might take me a while.

I also heard that many people don't cook in Singapore only because it's so much easier, and cheaper, to go out and eat at a hawker center. Do you find this to be true?

Thanks for the compliment and the recommendations. Everyone's been recommending Singapore Heritage Food by Sylvia Tan. I have a friend looking for it, so hopefully I'll have it soon.

Hi MrsTweety,

Don't know about's about hungry? =) I don't want to be the only one gaining weight trying all of these yummy dishes!


That's great, Reid. The recipe also works well on watercress (the one that we used to make soup..


Hi Mik,

Nice to hear from you again. Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe I'll try that next time, although I think watercress is a bit more bitter in flavor than kangkong.

fish fish

Dear Reid, I did get homesick becoz missing belachan kangkung. :P Know wat I did? I substitute Kangkung with Spinach. Wow! The taste was divine. Maybe u would like to try the belachan spinach too. ;)


Hi fish fish,

Spinach sounds good too! Mik also recommended that I try cooking it with watercress. Now I have 2 more ways to cook this. Thank you! =P

FatMan Seoul

Besides the toasting tip, here's more:

(1) Invest in a pestal and mortar if you're into this genre of south east asian cooking. The electric blenders make a mess out of everything. With a pestal and mortar, you get better flavours and control.

(2) The initial oil plays an important part to bring out the full flavours of the mixture - sambal, dried prawns, garlic and chilies all require a hot wok of oil for best effect. Substitute with light olive oil if you're worried/health conscious.


hey reid, did you do anything to the hebi before grinding it up with the shrimp paste?


Hi FatMan,

Thanks for the additional tips. =)

I'm lucky. I've got a great mortar/pestle. I bought it at the Asian market from a Thai lady. It was actually quite expensive and I think that I could have bought it in Thailand for much less (I paid US$21.00). Maybe I'll take some photos of it the next time.

As for the second point, I do use a wok, however, in my area, we don't have a natural gas hookup. =(

Hi Claudine,

Well, I actually chopped it up a bit before grinding, which I don't think that I should have done. It caused the spice paste (rempah) to be a little too "fine".


i need to right a wrong here :) sylvia tan is not related in any way to terry or christopher tan :) sorry!!


Hi Stef,

No problem! Thank you for dropping by!

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