Kangkung belacan is a favourite stir fry vegetable dish found in local eateries in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Kangkung, as it is known in the Malay language is a leafy vegetable which thrives in humid and warm countries. Also known as Chinese water spinach, this vegetable is widely found in the region. Addition of the pungent and flavour-packed fermented shrimp paste delivers the umami flavour besides spiciness from the dried chillies. This method of stir-frying vegetables is a great twist to the basic method as it is more flavourful.
Substitutes for kangkung
This style of stir-frying vegetables with chilli and shrimp paste is well known and Chinese water spinach is usually used. Besides kangkung, french beans, ladies' fingers and sweet potato leaves also goes well with belacan. When using french beans or ladies' fingers, the cooking time would be slightly longer as these vegetables need time to soften.
What is belacan?
There are many types of fermented shrimp paste throughout Southeast Asia. The specific type of fermented shrimp paste found in Malaysia and Singapore is known as belacan. It is made up of tiny shrimps known as krill which are fermented, fried and then shaped into blocks. If you are unable to find belacan, opt for other shrimp paste such as terasi (Indonesian) or kapi (Thai).
Enjoy kangkung belacan as a side dish with warm white rice. it will definitely perks up your appetite.