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.

在餐館我們常常會吃腐乳通菜或蝦醬通菜,為何與之襯托的總是重口味醬汁?其實通菜本身不是很有菜味的菜蔬,加上是沒心肝的空著心,很適合與濃味的調味料混在一起。這條空著心的菜可不是沒本心,雖是美洲移民但輕易得到農夫的寵愛,容易耕種,對泥土要求又不是最嚴格,溫差大都可以長得好好的。有些廣東人叫它做抽筋菜,因為它有涼血和清熱的功效,假如閣下體質虛寒,多吃就會容易引致抽筋。
在封神榜的故事中,通菜卻化身成一件重要的道具,話說比干丞相當時被紂王挖心以示忠誠,有一位道士告訴比干不要害怕,只要閉氣一言不發然後衝出皇宮就可保命,不料在路旁出現一位賣空心菜的菜販,比干好奇就問:「菜無心能活,人無心能活嗎?」菜販答道:「菜無心能活,人無心即死啦。」比干破戒說了話,立即氣絕身亡。當然,古代神話故事總帶著一絲哀愁,到了現代,吃菜炒菜總是滿心歡喜,因為高纖解毒才是最佳的護身符咒。

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