kailan 2 ways

Kailan cooked in 2 ways or “yin yong kai lan” is a dish which I ate about 3 years ago in a restaurant in Shah Alam. I found it interesting – even though it is relatively simple. The kailan leaves are shredded and deep fried whilst the stem is given a light stir fry with garlic slices. I had totally forgotten about this dish and did not think about cooking it until recently when I saw a picture of it in a book which I was browsing at a store. My interest was reignited and hence, this dish was attempted last weekend.

I found this dish to be a bit time consuming as the kailan needs to be prepared in two ways. Firstly, the middle stem running along the leaves need to be removed. What I did was to place each leaf (yes, leaf by leaf) on my chopping board, fold it into half with the stem as the guide and then use a knife to cut the stem out. Once the stem has been removed, I then take a couple of leaves which have been given the same treatment and roll them tightly before slicing / shredding them thinly. As for the main stems, I remove the outer skin before cutting them into bite sizes.

The frying of the shredded kailan leaves also needs some care. You will need to use a generous amount of oil because the leaves tend to absorb the oil and they get burnt easily. It is thus important to control the heat – somewhere between medium to high if preferred. After frying them, you will need to drain them and leave them on kitchen napkins to have excess oil absorbed.

It is still an interesting dish to try out if you are bored with the usual stir fried kai lan with prawns or kai lan stems with pork and mushrooms. I sprinkled tiny anchovies or “ghun he” (in hokkien) over the deep fried kailan leaves. A good substitute would be meat floss.

This is my version of Kailan Cooked in 2 Ways


  • 250 grammes kailan (choose those with big leaves and prepare them as explained above)
  • 2 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
  • 200 ml hot water
  • some corn starch
  • 400 ml cooking oil


  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chinese cooking wine (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper powder to taste


Heat up about 350 ml oil in wok and fry the shredded kailan leaves in batches until the leaves start to turn brown. When they are beginning to turn brown, remove the leaves and place on kitchen napkin to absorb excess oil. Continue frying the remaining kailan leaves.

Once all the kailan leaves have been deep fried, remove oil from wok and give the wok a quick wash. Then heat up wok with 50 ml oil.

Add kailan stems and garlic slices and stir fry briskly. After 20 seconds or so, sprinkle some water and continually do this until kailan stems are tender. Add remaining water and seasoning. Then, add some cornstarch to thicken the gravy if desired.

Dish up and serve together with the deep fried kailan leaves which have been sprinkled with fried tiny anchovies or meat floss.

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  1. 1
    October 7th, 2008 at 12:52 am

    I had tried this dish before in Pantai Seafood and Unique Seafood. If not mistaken, it is 1 of their signature dish. Nice shot!

  2. 2
    October 7th, 2008 at 1:00 am

    it’s available in too many restaurants nowadays, even ChatterBox (Bangsar/1-U)… or the local restaurant in SS4 just 5 mins from my house…

  3. 3
    October 7th, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Wow I have never tried this before, looks really good… and so interesting. If you serve this to me, I think I will attack the leafy portion first, hehe

  4. 4
    October 7th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    thanks but no thanks :p i think i’ll order at pantai seafood 😀

  5. 5
    October 8th, 2008 at 3:00 am

    That’s a very neat way to cook kailan. Can you describe how the deep fried leaves taste?

  6. 6
    October 8th, 2008 at 3:06 am

    I saw this dish in most of the Malaysian food bloggers website these days. Must be one of the more popular dish in Malaysia at the moment. I’ll try to cook that for supper one day. Have to go to the Asian store to get the kailan though! Will keep you posted at how it goes! Pls send my regards to your wife, E, and the girls!

  7. 7
    October 8th, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    The deep fried kailan leaves look so much like the “pearl”(sorry, I directed this directly from the Mandarin name) leaves I usually see being deep-fried.

    In Teochew cuisine, these is this fried kway teow dish (ingredients including chai-po ~ preserved turnips) and sometimes I see similar veg being added.

  8. 8
    October 9th, 2008 at 3:31 am

    O oh! Iv never heard of this before. Thats not a good sign! Iv only been gone for 4 yrs 🙁

  9. 9
    Tom Aarons
    October 13th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Wow. This looks fantastic. Are the deep fried leaves soft or crispy?

  10. 10
    October 14th, 2008 at 10:51 am

    this certainly sounds like an interesting idea. must ask my mom to try

  11. 11
    October 22nd, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    I tried cooking this once. Frying the leaves is such a tedious job. 🙁

  12. 12
    [eatingclub] vancouver || js
    October 23rd, 2008 at 11:24 am

    This is certainly a sophisticated way to prepare kailan. Thanks!

  13. 13
    November 18th, 2008 at 1:28 am

    I’ve never heard of this dish and must ask for this the next time I’m in Malaysia! I love kailan stems for the crunch. This is a really interesting treatment of the leaves. At first glance I thought they were shredded and toasted crispy seaweed.

  14. 14
    university student
    June 10th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I tried this dish in a Chinese restaurant. Quite special. But I don’t how to cook. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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