Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/Ipomoea_aquatica.jpg

Otherwise known as…

Water convolvulus, water spinach, swamp cabbage, ong choy, hung tsai, rau muong.

General information

Kang kong is closely related to sweet potato as well as to 'morning glory', the climbing vine with large purple flowers that grows as a weed in the warmer parts of Australia. Like its relative, kang kong can also sometimes escape from cultivation and the plant is considered a weed in some places. However, it is an extremely popular and common vegetable in many parts of south-east Asia.

Kang kong prefers damp conditions, flourishing along the banks of streams and boggy areas. The plants long, pale green hollow stems float on top of the water or creep along damp ground. The leaves are darker green and can be long and slender to short and heart shaped depending on variety.

Cooking tips

Kang kong has a mild flavour and can be used raw in salads as well as lightly cooked. In many parts of Asia it is eaten stir fried with chilli, garlic or a savoury paste. When preparing, it is best to strip the leaves from the stems and slice the stems diagonally. Add the stems first and stir fry for a minute or so before adding the leaves. Cook only until the leaves are just wilted. The slightly slippery texture of the cooked leaves contrasts well with the firm, hollow stems.

Kang kong

 

Kang Kong Information Sheet

 

There are two major types of Kang Kong. The first type, known as ‘Bamboo Leaf’ (or upland variety), has a narrow leaf and it does not require much water. The second type, called ‘Round Leaf’ (or lowland variety), possesses broad leaves and requires plenty of water.

Kang Kong is most commonly grown in East and Southeast Asia. Because it flourishes naturally in waterways and requires little if any care, it is used extensively in Thai, Lao, Cambodian, Malay, Vietnamese, & Chinese cuisine, especially in rural or village areas.

Kang kong is closely related to sweet potato as well as to 'morning glory', the climbing vine with large purple flowers that grows as a weed in the warmer parts of Australia. Like its relative, kang kong can also sometimes escape from cultivation and the plant is considered a weed in some places. However, it is an extremely popular and common vegetable in many parts of south-east Asia.

Kang kong prefers damp conditions, flourishing along the banks of streams and boggy areas. The plants long, pale green hollow stems float on top of the water or creep along damp ground. The leaves are darker green and can be long and slender to short and heart shaped depending on variety.

It is not recommended to grow this plant in dams, especially in tropical areas where it can quickly take over.

Highly recommended for growing in Tropical and Sub-Tropical areas. It will also grow in temperate zones but is very frost sensitive.

 

Like most leafy greens, it's high in iron, but it's not bitter, so you can use it in anything from stir-fries to salads. It is very fast growing and you can pick it all year round.


Growing from seed –

Seeds will germinate best when soil temperatures are at 25 - 30°C.

Tropical areas – April to August

Subtropical areas – October to February

Temperate areas – in Spring, behind glass for extra heat

Sow seeds into seed raising mix at a depth of 5mm & keep moist. It is recommended that seeds are sown into seedling trays rather than direct where they are to grow, and then moved on to their permanent position when large enough to handle. Their permanent position should be in a full sun to semi-shade.

Germination should only take 3 to 10 days when sown in optimum conditions.

 

How to grow –

Kang kong likes to grow in very damp soil, but that's not always easy if you have a small garden or live in a unit, this problem is easily solved by growing it in a water container. This also solves the problem of needing to water the plants regularly if you are a busy person, which most of us are (‘Bamboo Leaf’ can be grown in just a normal pot, or in the garden, but it does need to be kept CONSTANTLY moist). 


What You'll Need

  • A big container - one that will hold water - A large ceramic water bowl is ideal, but you could use anything as long as it holds water
  • Water
  • One or two bricks or pavers
  • Liquid fertiliser
  • A grid - to hold the Kang kong down in the water, such as a piece of steel mesh (you won’t need this straight away)
  • Kang kong plants


Method
Position your container where you want to grow your Kang kong, once it is full of water it will be awkward to move.

Place the brick centrally in the container and then fill the container with water to just over the level of the brick.

Place your potted Kang kong plants on top of the brick and add more water if needed. You want the pot fully submerged but the leaves need to be above the surface of the water.
Once the kang kong plants have developed more, place the mesh so it's just under the surface of the water, resting on top of your potted kang kong. You may need to thread the leaves through the mess, remember the leaves need to be above the surface of the water so they can breathe.


Fertilising
Kang kong is a heavy feeder. It needs lots of nutrients to keep it growing fast, using an organic a liquid fertiliser such as Charlie Carp or Powerfeed is ideal, or you can make your own using chook or cow manure, or dynamic lifter soaked in water.


Tip - Whenever you've got still water in the garden, you're going to breed mosquitoes. You can put some fish in your container so the fish eat any mosquito larvae and the mozzies don't eat you. Consider the fish when choosing the fertiliser that you will be using as some fertilisers may be toxic to fish (fertilising little but often is probably the safest bet). 

 

Recipes –

Kang kong with Oyster Sauce

 Ingredients:

  • 2 bundles Kang kong soaked in water.
  • 1/4 kilo. diced pork or chicken.
  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce.
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small onion chopped.
  • Pepper to taste.
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Cooking oil.

Cooking Instructions:

Cut kang kong into 3 inch long strips, discard the lower part. Wash and soak in a bowl of warm water.

Heat cooking oil in a pan. Pan fry pork meat until light brown. Remove excess oil.

In the same pan, saute onion and garlic until soft and fragrant. Stir with the meat for few minutes.

Pour in water. Season with oyster sauce and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Add in kangkong. Stir and simmer for few minutes, until Kangkong is tender and wilted.

Serve with steamed rice

 

Adobong Kang kong

Ingredients:

2 cups of kangkong leaves and stalks, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 big onion sliced

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

3 tablespoons of vinegar

half a glass of water

some chicharon

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a small amount of cooking oil in a pan. Fry your garlic and onions.  Add kang kong, soysauce, and vinegar.  Pour in water and let it simmer for about fifteen minutes covered.  Before serving top it with chicharon.

11.09.12

I sowed my bought seed about a week back in the moist tub of potting mix but am still waiting on anything coming up. There does seem to be a little bit of shooting happening with a couple of seeds floating on the surface.

I have pushed them under - hope I done right!

10.11.12

Replanted some new seed from Green Harvest direct into the pot a couple of weeks ago. A tiny amount of seed finally germinate, but die. It's raining out there at the moment and a couple of tiny plants have  floated to the surface of the water. They don't appear to have any kind of root system - just a little green stump and some leaves coming out of the seed casing.

Just reread this blog and realised I probably haven't put enough weed tea into the growing mix for fertilizer. Not that this should make a diffence for germination.

Have just put some of my remaining seed in the seed raising tray with the bottom holding weed tea to keep them moist.

Have been told how easy this plant is to germinate and grow so I'm doing something wrong. Scarlett suggest using a heavier soil. This would gel with the growing around the "banks of streams and boggy areas".

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Comment by Lissa on July 20, 2012 at 5:33

Good stuff :)

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on July 19, 2012 at 7:26

And I found an un-opened packet of Babmboo Leaf among my current seeds so between us there'll be some for Summer munching.

Comment by Lissa on July 19, 2012 at 4:23

The bought stems I put into the tub have all rotted and died. The pot kept filling with water during the rain so maybe too wet for them, or just too cold.

I have some bought seed and will give them another go when the weather warms up. Really liked the flavour.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 30, 2012 at 13:16

One thing about 'common varieties' is that if they come from around about here, they probably do well here. Sometimes when you don't see what you would like but see something else, it's perhaps out of season of too far away to transport. Sticking with what grows well here is usually the simplest way to get successful crops.

Comment by Lissa on June 30, 2012 at 8:24

The one I bought was narrow leaf also - must be the most common variety around here. We should look out for the round leaf variety and see if someone can get hold of some.

Yummy either way :)

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 16, 2012 at 12:32

Mmmm! Roll on some KK plants!

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