Eating seasonally from our garden in the middle of summer in Miami means lot vegetables not many of our friends are familiar with. The heat, humidity and pests are just too much for the traditional vegetables we're used to seeing at the grocery store. Instead, we have vegetables like water spinach which thrives in our heat and humidity. They're really easy to grow. Since they are semiaquatic plant, they grow best in water or damp soil. We're not kidding when we say we have an abundance of water spinach from the garden at the moment! A problem we don't mind at all. We've been mostly sautéing them with garlic. It's such a simple but satisfying side dish. Another favorite way we prepare water spinach is canh chua rau muống thịt bò or water spinach and beef sour soup. See how we make our version below.
BEEF AND WATER SPINACH SOUR SOUP
12 oz beef sirloin, sliced thin
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 wolves of garlic, minced
2 lemongrass stem, bruised and cut into 2-3 inches
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp tamarind water (Replace with lime juice if not available)
1 bunch of water spinach, washed and cut into 1.5 inches pieces
Herbs: basil, culantro, oregano or rice paddy. You don't need all four herbs. Any of the two listed will do.
In a large pot over medium high heat with oil, toss in garlic and lemongrass until fragrant. Stir in beef and cook for a couple minutes. Add 6 cups of water, sugar, salt, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil. Don't forget to skim the impurity on top. Add tamarind and water spinach. Turn off the heat. Garnish with chopped herbs when serving.