Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Thai Stir-fried Morning Glory | 泰式飛天炒通菜 | Phad Pak Bung Fai Daeng

Phad Pak bung fai daeng - popularly known as "stir-fried morning glory" - one of the most recognizable Thai vegetable favorites that is ubiquitously served from streetside to restaurants across Thailand, is as easily, and quickly, prepared at home. The ingredient list is so short and sweet, the dish can practically be whipped up in a flash, literally.

Stir fry like you mean it over a blazing flame - and the dish is ready in a flash!

The main ingredient of this stirfry is obviously pak bung jiin (jiin: Thai for China/Chinese), commonly known as kangkong, Chinese water spinach, or ong choy (蕹菜) in different cultures. This Chinese variety is not to be confused with its Thai counterpart, which tends to be larger in the stalk. Like many stirfries in Thai cuisine, the Chinese influence on this dish is undeniable, as is most evident in the use of a wok on very high heat (hence fai daeng, blazing "red fire" in Thai) and the seasoning ingredients.

Water spinach is not only easy to wash, it is super uncostly by the bunch
What makes it distinctly Thai, nevertheless, is its generous use of fish sauce, oyster sauce, fermented soybean paste, chili, and a touch of sugar, which gives the dish its signature savory and sweet followed by a pang of fire. I sometimes substitute Thai fish sauce with a secret ingredient - Bagoong Balayan, a turbid, fermented anchovy sauce produced exclusively in the Batangas, Philippines that imparts an even richer, more pungent "fishy" flavor than fish sauce.

This dish is so tasty, so hot, and ready in seconds, it literally flies - hence its moniker "Flying Pak Bung" in Thai, which also explains why this popular dish is often translated as "飛天炒通菜" in Chinese.

What you'll need...
1 large bunch water spinach
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 large cloves of garlic
3 bird eye chilis
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fermented bean sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water or chicken broth

Smashed whole red chilis are easy to spot and pick out after plating 
1. Wash water spinach and drain. Cut into 3-inch segments, separating stalk and leaf. Give the garlic cloves and whole chilis a good whack. Place stalk in a large bowl and top with smashed garlic and chilis.

2. In a small bowl, mix together oyster sauce, fermented bean sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and water/chicken broth.

3. In a large wok over very high heat, heat oil until beginning to smoke. Dump stalk, garlic and chilis all at once into the wok, followed by the sauce. Briskly stir fry, then quickly add the remaining leafy portion of the water spinach and stir fry to coat well with sauce. Remove from heat at once when the vegetables wilt, turn bright green and tender-crisp, and transfer to serving platter immediately. The whole process takes barely a minute.

If you ever wonder why this dish is named "Flying Morning Glory", give it a try at your own kitchen and it will all make sense

通菜  600 克
生油  1 湯匙
蒜頭  4 瓣
指天椒  3 隻

蠔油  1 湯匙*
豆醬  1 湯匙
魚露  1 湯匙*
砂糖  1 茶匙
或上湯  60 毫升

1. 通菜洗淨切段,約三寸長,置於大盤內備用(建議嫩葉分開)。
2. 蒜瓣和指天椒略拍扁,放在切好的通菜上面。
3. 調味料拌勻備用。
4. 熱鑊下油,傾入通菜、蒜、指天椒及調味料,用大火快速翻炒再加入嫩葉兜勻。
5. 當通菜顏色變得鮮豔之後馬上熄火,上碟即成。過程僅需一分鐘! 


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