Water Spinach (蕹菜)
Water Spinach is believed to be a native to China, having been first documented during the 4th century in the Chin Dynasty. Since the, water spinach has been introduced throughout the world, and is now especially grown in Florida. Due to the history of Water Spinach pertaining to Asian culture, this vegetable is a staple piece of Chinese cuisine. Water Spinach is also known by a variety of names, including, ‘Chinese swamp cabbage’ and ‘water morning glory.’
The appearance of Water Spinach is recognized through its thin, hallow stems that join together, and by their leaves. The leaves are normally arrowhead shaped, varying from size. There are a wide variety of Water Spinach, however, the above description is mostly common in distinguishing the overall type. What is special about Water Spinach is the contrast between the crunchy stem and the luscious leaves, providing a mixture of interesting textures. Another reason why Water Spinach is so great, is because the are incredibly cheap in the markets, especially during the summer, and that they are available all year round.
There are numerous advantages to eating Water Spinach, most notably are the health benefits. Water Spinach contains surplus amounts of vitamins including vitamins A, B, C, E and U. According to scientific research, the Water Spinach is also used to help treat disorders such as stomach and intestinal health problems.
Water Spinach has very interesting flavours, and are similar to that of normal spinach. However, Water Spinach has a mild, nutty taste.
Due to the nature of Water Spinach encompassing soft leaves and crunchy stems, when cooking they should not be overcooked as to preserve this staple texture. Water Spinach is best eaten as soon as possible, as to keep the taste alive. When cooking, Water Spinach should be prepared like any other leave vegetable. Make sure to wash the vegetable well, and discard the lowest 1 to 2 inches of the stem, as normally these parts are too rough to eat.
Water Spinach can be cooked in a variety of ways. Such methods may include sautéing them with butter and garlic; or serving them with cream; or perhaps raw tossed in a salad. Traditional to Chinese cuisine, the Water Spinach is often added to stir-fries, frying them with garlic, ginger and chili pepper.