The minute I sensed dinner was not ready, I knew I needed to cook a quick dish like Adobong Kangkong with Talong. I could not smell the usual familiar aroma of tangy adobo simmering in the slow cooker. In the kitchen, I lifted the glass lid to check on dinner. The lid felt stone cold. The meat pieces looked raw and uncooked. The dinner dish had stopped cooking after I left the house. My Calphalon slow cooker had just died.
It was too late to start a new dish, I thought. And I dreaded the idea of ordering take out. My refrigerator was fully stocked anyway, plus there was still less than an hour left before dinner. I had time to cook supper. I knew just what to cook. I had a large batch of Asian eggplants and fresh spinach. I was craving a dish with lots of garlic and a tangy sauce. I wanted lots of sauce to pour on a bed of hot, steaming jasmine rice. Before I knew it I was done cooking the classic Filipino vegetable dish Adobong Kangkong with Talong (a sautéed dish of spinach and eggplants in garlic-vinegar sauce).
To those unfamiliar, kangkong (say ‘kanhn-khong’) is known as water spinach. This is a very common Filipino and Asian vegetable that grows in abundance back in the Philippines. Its stems are slightly longer with a purplish hue at the end of the stalk. The leaves are longer and less plump, in comparison to the fresh American spinach. In some cookbooks, ‘kangkong’ is referred to as ‘swamp cabbage’. Eggplants in the Philippines are called talong (say ‘tah-long’) and more common are the Asian variety, which are long and slim. These have the same outer color and skin as the large aubergines. But within, one finds a thinner, slightly sweeter texture.
“Why are there no Filipino vegetarian dishes? “ I have often been asked by fellow food bloggers and cookbook authors whom I meet at conferences. True, I admit a lot of the Filipino dishes featured on this site are pork-inspired. But yes, we have vegetable dishes, too. Many Filipino dishes are vegetable-based. Philippine cuisine thrives on food prepared from the backyard produce, the season’s local harvest or food abundant in one’s environment.
So, the next time you walk into your house with absolutely no dinner ready, no need to panic. These two vegetables can come together in a dish in the most divine way. Slice the eggplants while your adobo saute is simmering in the skillet. When the tangy vinegar-soy sauce blend slathered with a lot of garlic is ready in a few minutes, toss in the eggplant slices and watch them cook in less quickly. Finish it off at the end with the fresh spinach. While you mix and blend it all, the leafy spinach turns a dark green hue and then softens up. The irresistible adobo aroma of a garlic stew will invite everyone to the table immediately.
Adobong Kangkong with Talong
- large skillet or wok
- 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole medium-sized onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup Heinz cider vinegar, or use white vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth, or water
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 piece bay leaf
- 2 to 3 whole Asian eggplants sliced, about 2 cups (from Asian markets, or use aubergines)
- 3 cups kangkong (water spinach), sliced in 2-inch length, washed, stems trimmed (from Asian markets or use regular fresh baby spinach)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- for serving : steamed white jasmine rice
- In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the cooking oil. Saute the garlic and onions for 1 minute till softened.
- In a separate small bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, broth, bay leaf, black peppercorns. Blend well and add into the skillet with the sautéed garlic and onions. Let the adobo liquid simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes .
- Add the sliced eggplants to the adobo saute. Continue cooking eggplants till they are cooked for about 8 minutes. Add the spinach and stir into the rest of the ingredients. When the spinach cooks in 1 minute and the leaves start to look wilted, turn off the heat. Season with black pepper powder and a pinch of salt. Serve warm with steamed jasmine white rice.
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Hello, Friends! All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos and recipe content I wrote, on your website,books, films, television shows or videos without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe or content on another website, video, news article,or media outlets mentioned above please ASK my permission, re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]