Thursday, July 3, 2008
Steamed Kang Kong (Water Spinach) with Mango Salsa
This salad is highly recommended for everyone. It has vegetable - the KangKong. It has fruit - the mango. It is tasty. It is healthy. There is something special about the pairing of these two ingredients. The kangkong is considered a poor-man's vegetable while the mango is considered the queen of Philippine fruits!
The vegetable is known by many names : Water Spinach, Swamp Cabbage, Eng Tsai (Hokkian), KongXinCai (Mandarin Chinese), KangKong (Filipino), KangKung (Indonesian, Malay)...
The Kang Kong is a popular vegetable here in Asia, primarily because it flourishes naturally in moist watery areas and does not need much care. It is also one of the cheapest vegetable around so it is used extensively in cooking. Kang Kong is usually stir fried in shrimp paste, garlic and chili; or to make a vegetarian dish, it can be stir-fried with fermented tofu. Either way, stir-fried kang kong can already be a stand-alone flavorful vegetable dish paired with a steaming bowl of rice. It can be added to soups like the Sinigang. It can be added to noodles. It can be made into a salad like this recipe.
The fruit - the mango - the queen of Philippine fruits - is fortunately available year-round in this tropical country, though it is particularly abundant in summer. It is one of our family's favorite fruits. There is something wonderfully intoxicating about the aroma of a ripe mango. And the sweet taste of a ripe mango is incomparbale to other fruits. When buying sweet mangoes, make sure the color is even throughout the flesh, and the part near where the stem was broken off should smell sweet.
3/4 C diced ripe mangoes (or use a melon baller to make round mango bites)
1 C diced, seeded tomatoes
1/4 C Chopped coriander
1/4 C brown rice vinegar (or white rice vinegar)
1 T sugar
1 and 1/4 t salt
dash of pepper
1 bunch (around 300 gms) Kangkong, cleaned, cut into bite-size pieces, steamed
1. In a medium bowl, gently mix mangoes, tomatoes and coriander.
2. In another bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over the mango salsa, stirring lightly.
2. Arrange the steamed Kangkong on the serving plate. Spoon mango salsa over the Kangkong and serve.
You may chill the Kangkong with salsa for 10 minutes to make a cold salad. However, please serve the salad within an hour of preparation otherwise the mangoes will absorb the vinegar and lose their sweetness.
This is my first entry to the Monthly Mingle foodie event, hosted by Meeta of What's for Lunch Honey? This month's feature is the beautifully golden-yellow, wonderfully delicious, sweet ripe Mango.
With this entry, I want to focus on the versatility of the mango. The mango is not only used for savory sweets and desserts like cakes or tarts or ice creams. It can be used to enhance dishes (stir fried beef with mangoes, for example) and to make a salad like this one stand-out exceptionally. It is true. It was the mango bits in this salad that gave the flavor, aroma and sweetness to an otherwise blah dish.