Oh, kangkung! The all rage green vegetable our fellow Malaysians were playfully joking at earlier this year as it went viral on social networks after Prime Minister Najib Razak publicly quoted the vegetable as an example in his explanation on the economics principles of supply and demand to the nation.
Harping back to those moments, the images of stir fried kangkung with ‘sambal belachan‘ dish went viral, became the talk of the town, and even restaurants were offering a variety style of cooking the vegetable.
Image from Wikipedia
We all know it’s easy to cook up the dish but do you know how it’s grown? If you’re clueless, let’s explore this area of food.
Plant Description :
Kangkung, commonly known as water spinach in English, (scientific name, Ipomoea aquatica) is a semi aquatic plant found throughout the tropical regions of the world, especially in the East and Southeast Asia.
It grows well in water or on moist soil. Its vines are 2–3 meters (7–10 ft) or more long, rooting at the nodes, and they are hollow and can float. The leaves vary from typically sagittate (arrow head-shaped) to lanceolate, 5–15 cm (2–6 in) long and 2–8 cm (0.8–3 in) broad. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 3–5 cm (1–2 in) in diameter, and usually white in colour with a mauve centre.
Propagation is either by planting cuttings of the stem shoots that will root along nodes or planting the seeds from flowers that produce seed pods.
Here’s a video on how to pronounce the scientific name.
A recap: How to identify ‘kangkung’ or water spinach?
– It’s a category of morning glory family.
– It’s a vine can reach nine feet long.
– This prolific plant can grow into dense tangled mats.
– Its leaf is arrowhead shaped 1 to 6 inches long, in 1 to 3 inches wide, believes have notched bases and with a rounded or pointed lobes.
– The flowers, like morning glory are two inches wide funnel-shaped can be white pink or pale lilac.
The next video is tips on how to grow kangkung in pots.
A recap: Growing kangkung in pots.
– It’s a perennial plant which means, you have something to harvest all year round.
– It’s easy to grow as long as you give it the conditions: plenty of sunlight and plenty water.
– Its natural environment is around streams.
– It can be difficult to keep the moisture in the pot, but the most important thing is to have a big dish underneath the pot to maintain the water because the plant loves moisture.
– Do not throw the stems (the pieces at the bottom) away, instead put them into a good-quality potting mix and within a couple of days, it will start to form roots.
– By six weeks later, I’ve got plenty of it that are ready to harvest.
The video below is just showing you the basics of growing the plant.
If you have not grown ‘kangkung’, do give it a shot, after all it is said to be easy to grow and can be harvested all year round but remember it’s not advisable to overeat, be very careful on how you cook and eat it.