Yesterday my wife asked me what I was going to cook for dinner so I told her to check the fridge and to thaw out some pork and check what kind of veggies we had. She told me we had "ong choy" aka swamp spinach. So I decided when I got home from work to cook a quick stir-fry of pork and ong choy.
Here is some pics of ong choy and it's definition:
water spinach = swamp spinach = ung choy = long green = kangkong = tangkong Notes: This cooking green is very common in the Philippines. Some varieties have purple stems. Substitutes: spinach OR watercress
So I decided to cook with this versatile long green but what kind of sauce to cook it with was my next question. My wife loves it with harm ha sauce or fine shrimp paste as I do to but this time I wasn't in the mood to stink up my house with that wonderful aromatic aroma of shrimp paste. lol :D The neighbors must be complaining behind the walls! :P
So the next best sauce in the fridge was oyster sauce. But I wanted to create a variation of the dish. A subtle mix of chinese and filipino styles.
In filipino cooking we use a lot of patis or nuoc mam which is fish sauce. I have learned that the vietnamese fish sauces are more refined and stronger in flavor than its filipino counterpart. With the vietnamese variety you can put a little less but still retains its full bodied flavor. My wife agrees too although in the beginning we had a big debate over filipino versus vietnamese until she found out her dad used the "squid" brand of fish sauce in New Jersey.
I usually buy both the "squid" or "tiparos" brand at my local asian grocery store. So back to my dish. Here is my recipe below:
Pork with Ong choy (chinese filipino style or chinoy)
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- 1 whole yellow onion, halved and sliced in thin strips.
- 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced fine.
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp patis
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 pinch monosodium glutamate (msg) optional
- 1 bay leaf or laurel leaf ripped in half.
- 16 oz sliced Pork butt or porkchop sliced into strips
- 1 whole bunch Ong choy (a.k.a. water spinach, swamp cabbage), cut in 1" pieces. Separate hard stems and leaves.
- 1 Tbsp tapioca or corn starch
- 8 oz of cold water
- ground black pepper to taste.
Heat oil in wok or pan. Add onion & garlic, cook til aroma is released. Add pork & stir-fry til half cooked. Add bay leaf. Add tomato paste and continue frying till oil and pork are fully reddish in color. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, and patis. It'll look like you added atchuete oil. Add ong choy - hard stems first & stir fry. Add water if necessary. Add rest of ong choy cover & steam for 5 min. Mix cornstarch and water in cup and add to wok to thicken sauce Season with pepper and msg. Serve with hot rice. Enjoy!
The dish will taste a little bit like eating a typical chinese oyster sauce stir-fry and the taste of a typical filipino tomato based saute' dish like pork guisantes. It's my fusion of the two cultures! :)
Here is the finished dish pic: