01 Dec, 2015
Sometimes the simplest things can give the greatest joys. Our travails into the innards of South East Asia landed us in the land of the Khmer and famed Angkor Wat- Cambodia and thus began a new culinary journey. As a heads up, it can be safe to assume that Cambodia, which is sandwiched between two gastronomic giants- Thailand and Vietnam, does not quite match up, but it still has a few gems here and there that are not only very distinct, but create food memories that linger.
One such precious find for us green eating healthy food seeking junta was the discovery of “morning glory”. Morning glory, also known as Kankong or water spinach is a leafy green that is used in stir fries across South-east Asia, and is tossed into a number of curries and salads from the region. However, in Cambodia it was not uncommon to find this lovely green being served stand-alone, as a great vegetarian dish, or even an excellent side to a more robust meal.
Whereas in parts of Asia the root of the vegetable is eaten, in Cambodia only the leaves and the tender shoots are eaten. Though the flavour is a bit similar to spinach, there is a magical delicacy that exists in it and it is not as earthy as spinach. For this reason, a gente saute is usually enough to prepare the dish and serve it absolutely fresh to eager and hungry diners.
The morning glory we had was almost always gently tossed with some garlic, a little chilli and salt. With such few ingredients and very little work, it was amazing how we were always presented with a dish that was zesty, fresh, green and very addictive! I enjoyed my morning glory over steamed rice, and usually along with a fragrant fish curry, where it made for a stunning meal, that was redolent with flavours of both the land and the sea, and a staple no matter where we were in Cambodia.