Sauteed White Water Spinach with Garlic — Rau Muon Xao Toi
One of the simplest and yet most delectable dishes my mother ever taught me how to make is this dish, sauteed water spinach with garlic. Growing up, this was one of the first vegetables that my parents always planted in the garden out back at any house we lived in. Thriving in very wet, practically water laden environments, one of my fondest and unusual memories involving water spinach was my first kiddie pool being reallocated to the garden and becoming the first water spinach planter.
Coming in 2 varieties, the most prevalent and readily available being the green or ‘regular’ water spinach and the other being the white, slightly paler, spinach. Both are equally delicious, but I find that when I can get my hands on the white spinach, that it’s more tender and a bit brighter flavor than its green cousin.
Probably one of the easiest and yet best ways to prepare this and showcase its flavor and tenderness is to do a simple saute with garlic and a little bit of salt. It’s my favorite way to prepare it and when paired up with some white rice and another savory comfort dish (insert fried SPAM here), it makes for a quick and tasty dinner.
Rau Muon Xao Toi
As envisioned by TastyDesu
1 pound water spinach, green or white
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
Salt to taste
Wash water spinach thoroughly and prep by cutting off tougher parts of the bottom stem, anywhere between 1″ to 3″. You’ll want the tender stems, shoots, and leaves to saute. Next, cut spinach into 3″ sections and set aside.
Heat olive oil over high heat until it shimmers and add in garlic. Saute garlic till fragrant, about 1 minute, and add in spinach. Stand back as it may crackle and sizzle as you add in the spinach…don’t worry if it doesn’t seem like all of the spinach will fit. Put in as much as you can into the pan, flip/turn the spinach around and wait 30 seconds, the fresh spinach will wilt down quickly and make room. Add in the rest of the spinach.
Add water and continue flipping and turning the spinach to saute it through, about 3 minutes. You don’t want to overcook it, just enough to wilt the leaves and bring out the vibrant green color. Season with salt to taste. Serve hot. Enjoy!