Vietnamese spinach has thicker leaves than regular spinach and has mild flavors of citrus and pepper.
Can be eaten raw in salads to preserve its flavor. When cooked, the flavor becomes muted and can be used as a substitute for any leafy green. Can also be used as a thickening agent in soups.
Do not overcook or the leaves will become slimy in texture.
1 or ½ bundle Vietnamese spinach
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
2-3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut spinach into 3- or 4-inch segments, discarding at least 2 inches of the lower end of the stalk. Wash water spinach thoroughly, rinsing at least twice to remove any remnants of dirt or sediment. Drain and set aside.
In a wok or large pan, heat oil and add minced garlic, stir-frying over medium-high heat to release the aromatics. Cook until golden brown. Remove half of the garlic and set aside, leaving some garlic in the pan.
In the same pan, add the spinach, turning over to wilt the leaves. Sprinkle some salt to help release water, reduce heat and cover for 1-2 minutes, until spinach is reduced. Add salted 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce (optional) and salt and pepper according to taste. Cook until tender crisp.