Last year I received a big bunch of Chinese Spinach (Kangkong in Malay) from a friend of mine. Her husband has green fingers and whatever he plants, grow well and healthy. She has blessed us with sweet papayas, rambutans (a tropical fruit resembling lychee with hairy skin), bananas, mangoes, etc. and many types of green vegetables.
It is always a blessing to receive these homegrown fruits or vegetables from her because they will be freshly plucked and free from pesticides. My friend's husband loves to plant edibles and is very generous in blessing their friends with his harvest from his garden.
After I have plucked the young shoots and leaves of the Chinese Spinach for cooking, I used the remaining stalks to plant them in my garden. I was curious to see whether it will grow from the stalks. The stalks are hollow and there are nodes along the stalks. I buried the stalks, making sure that at least one of the nodes is buried in the soil. I watered them daily.
This is the Chinese Spinach I have planted in my garden using the stalks from the Chinese Spinach given by my friend. Chinese Spinach has many names. Some of the names are River Spinach, Water Morning Glory, Water Convolvulus, water Spinach, Chinese Convolvulus and Swamp Cabbage. It is called "Ong Choy" in Cantonese dialect and "Eng Chai" in Hokkien dialect.
The Chinese Spinach grew healthy and fertile and I was looking forward to harvest them. Somehow for some reasons, I did not get the chance to harvest the Chinese Spinach. I kept postponing the harvest until they started to mature. I left them to continue growing because I wanted to see how the plants will grow, whether it will flower or not. They just kept growing until they started to climb up the chain link fencing.
Finally, it did flower. The flower is pure white. It is shaped like a trumpet and looks like the morning glory flower.
The Chinese Spinach turned out to be a climber.
I decided to pull out the Chinese Spinach plants because they have started to climb all over the fence.
These are the Chinese Spinach grown from the seeds I have planted. Chinese Spinach can be propagated through stem cuttings and through seeds.
Chinese Spinach is packed with nutrients, vitamins and fiber. So far, I know of two types of Chinese Spinach. One grows in water or moist soil. This is the darker green and its texture is crunchier. This type is often boiled or blanched, mixed together with other vegetable e.g. Chinese sweet turnip (sengkuang), bean sprout, cucumber and sweet, spicy peanut sauce (Malay dish called pecal).
The other type grows on land, is of lighter green and less crunchy in texture. These are commonly used for stir fried dishes. Chinese Spinach used to be poor men's vegetable but now has become popular item in most restaurants and eateries. These can be stir-fried plain with garlic or with fermented bean curd (fu yu in Cantonese) added. Or it can be stir-fry with spicy shrimp paste (sambal belacan in Malay).
A word of caution: It is advisable to always cook the Chinese Spinach and not to eat raw Chinese Spinach especially those grown in water to prevent any kind of abdominal or intestinal allergy or infection.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up,
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
(Isaiah 61:11, New International Version-NIV)