Morning Glory 通菜

This seasonal vegetable is one of our favourites. The crunchy stem and leaves need only minimal cooking to yield a refreshing dish. In our opinion, no vegetable pairs up better with dried shrimp paste. Boil it and dip it in a sauce made with fermented soybean curd is another good way to consume this vegetable.
Morning glory is only available in summer months. It grows well in humid and hot climate but cannot withstand cold temperature. This vegetable is a great source of fiber, vitamin c and many other micronutrients. Like winter melon and hairy gourd, morning glory also has the cooling effect, keeping the heat in our body at an equilibrium.
In Hong Kong there are two major kinds of morning glory. One grows in wetland, or near ponds where the soil is constantly flooded with water. This type of morning glory has a thicker stem but lighter in colour, and smaller leaves. The other kind grows in normal soil, but needs frequent watering. The stems are much darker in colour, narrower, but has larger leaves. They have slightly different textures, but can be cooked in similar ways.
For lunch today, we made a simple meal by chopping up the morning glory to pea-size segments, and stir-fry that with some garlic, fish sauce, ground beef, and some Thai basil. The vegetable and meat are served over some mung bean cellophane noodles that has soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon.