Kangkong Belacan

Vegetable September 18th, 2006

Water Convolvulus (or Water Spinach) is also known as Kangkong in the Malay Language. It is a common vegetable found in abundance in Malaysia and has nutritional values similar to the spinach.

In Malaysia, it is often served as Kangkong Belacan (stir-fried with spicy shrimp paste) or Sotong Kangkong (mixed with cuttlefish in fish paste and sprinkled with crushed peanuts). It is very easy and fast to cook. You should ideally have a cooker with high heat as it is imperative that this Kangkong Belacan dish be cooked as fast as possible. Otherwise, it will be flooded with juice from the vegetable and watery.

This is my recipe for Kangkong Belacan.


  • Approximately 400 grammes of kangkong. Separate leaves from stem. Cut stems to reasonable bite sizes
  • 50 grammes of belacan (shrimp paste)
  • 50 grammes of dried shrimps (pre-soaked in about 150 ml of water. Do not throw away the water)
  • 5 bulbs of shallots
  • 5 bulbs of garlic
  • 4 to 8 red chillis (remove seeds if you want the dish to be less spicy)
  • 4 tablespoons of cooking oil (preferably palm oil)


Prepare belacan mix as follows. Pound belacan, dried shrimps, shallots, garlic and chilli in a mortar pound / blend them.

Heat oil in wok till smoke appears from wok. Add oil (which should be heated up substantially). Add belacan mix and stir quickly whilst reducing to medium heat. Do not burn the belacan mix.

Once belacan mix is fragrant and slightly brown, increase heat to high and add kangkong. Stir briskly and add a little water (from the water used to soak dried prawns) if the dish is too dry for your liking. Once kangkong is slightly limp, it is ready for serving.

I usually do not add any seasoning as the belacan and dried shrimps are quite salty in itself.

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  1. 2
    April 7th, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Hi! How can you get that bright green color? When I do this dish my kangkong turns a very dark green. Hope you can share your method. Thanks!

  2. 3
    April 9th, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Donald : You will need to have a very hot wok to cook it fast. When cooked, the leaves will eventually turn dark green. I think it is probably the flash from my camera which gave it a lighter green look 😀

  3. 4
    August 11th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    We love this dish!!! We actually made this recently, but your idea of pounding the chiles, belacan in shrimp is great!


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