What is Kangkong?
Kangkong is the Asian-originated name for what in English is known as water spinach, a leafy green water vegetable.
There are various names for kangkong, which is the name common in the Asia-Pacific region. Other names of kangkong are water morning glory, swamp cabbage, river spinach, Chinese spinach and water convolvulus. The scientific name for kangkong is ipomoea Acquatica and the plant is believed to have originated from Asia.
Kangkong or water spinach is a soft-stemmed aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial plant found in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The leaves are flat and vary in shape depending on variety, from heart-shaped to long, narrow and arrow-shaped. The two common varieties of kangkong we grow are the one with green stem that bears white flowers and the one with white stem that bears pink flowers. If the leaves are not harvested early and it flowers, it produces seeds, which can be planted.
In Papua New Guinea, kangkong naturally grows along riverbanks and in swampy areas and lakes. There is not much work or maintenance required in growing kangkong. Kangkong grows roots from the stem's nodes when planted so we don’t grow them from the seeds. It does not have any season and grows all year round, thriving where there is plenty of water and moist soil. It is weather-resistant.
Kangkong can also be a best vegetable to grow at home, provided that its growing conditions are met. Watch the video below about the best tips on growing your own kangkong at home.
How To Grow Kangkong or Water Spinach at Home
Water Spinach Health Benefits
Water spinach (kangkong) leaves are very nutritious, being rich in vitamins and minerals. It is naturally rich in dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C as indicated in the table below.
Young water spinach leaves has been and an excellent leafy green vegetable for people with anaemia and pregnant women who need iron in their diets.
I have not heard of any harmful effects of kangkong apart from its mild laxative effect when eaten a lot on empty stomach. Because of this laxative effect, kangkong is excellent for people suffering from constipation.
Because of its high nutritional value and weather-resistant nature, kangkong or water spinach is a plant that can be grown for food and nutrition for both man and animals. It may be a solution for world hunger and nutrition deficit.
Water Spinach (Kangkong) Nutritional Value
Per 100 g Servince
Other Uses of Kangkong
All parts of the young water spinach plant is edible with the shoot tips and young leaves being the best. Kangkong can be eaten raw or cooked. It is best stir-fried, with the stems being cooked a bit longer than the leaves.
The white-stemmed kangkong is more softer and better than the green-stemmed one. The leaves have a pleasant, mild and sweet flavour and has a slippery feel.
Apart from human consumption, kangkong leaves and stems also serve as food for domesticated animals and fish when grown in lakes.
Delicious Asian Kangkong Recipe Video
Kangkong is a very popular vegetable throughout South-East Asia. If you're in Asia, don't forget to try a kangkong dish. It's a delicacy! There are many varieties of kangkong dishes. My favourite ones are the simple garlic kangkong and garlic kangkong with chili stir-fried.
Raw kangkong preserves most of the nutritional values. The 'baby varieties' of water spinach is nice being eaten raw. Kangkong tastes better when it is not over-cooked.
If you want to try cooking kangkong yourself, I've here's two videos of kangkong recipes. Abodong kangkong recipe originated from the Philippines. There are many varieties of abodong kangkong recipes. You can learn to cook abodong kangkong with ease.
The South-East Asian local delight sambal kangkong is cooked with sambal chilli. There are many varieties of sambal kangkong dishes, too.
Video 2: Sambal Kangkong Recipe
Video 1: Adobong Kangkong Recipe
More Kangkong Recipes
If you want to learn how to cook a delicious Asian kangkong dish, whether it be a simple stir fry kangkong, sambal kangkong or you want to learn how to cook abodong kangkong, here are some links you may wish to check out.
Cooking is a skill. There are no wrong or right way. Once you know the basics, you can improvise. The important thing to note is that kangkong leaves are very soft whilst the stem will need a bit more cooking.
Enjoy your kangkong!
Have your say
The health information on kangkong does not replace or advise medical advice. Seek professional medical advice or a nutritionist for your nutrition needs.
If you have any questions or would like to contribute to the content of this article, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below.
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© 2012 Kejanny
Andy on May 20, 2014:
In Sri Lanka we eat kankung in a stir fry or chopped into tiny pieces and then sautéed with onions and grated coconut. This is without doubt my favorite vegetable. I always thought it had no nutrients but now it turns out kankung is full of good things for you!!!
Rhyell on September 11, 2013:
Is this true? Kang kong have no side effect? I need your response ASAP bec. Kang kong is one of my favourite vegetable...
kimberly on July 23, 2013:
emmm so yummy and so nutrional kangkong. ive while ago a kangkon chip soyommy and so crispy and so very nutrious
ketage from Croatia on March 19, 2013:
I love Sambal Kangkong, Its one of my favorite stir fried vegetables.
Wish I could buy it in Croatia, but they do not sell it here :(
Pepay on March 17, 2013:
Kangkong is one of my favorite. I usually add it to sinigang when they're in season. But my most favorite kangkong dish is adobo - cooked in soy and vinegar.
tattuwurn on March 11, 2013:
Kangkong is my favorite! One of the main ingredients in our dish "sinigang", and it can also fried (coated in flour batter) to crispy perfection.
Yup, it can be grown everywhere, even on soil. We would plant the large remaining stems (unfit for cooking and eating) on our backyard, instead of throwing them away.
I'm glad there's a hub for kangkong. More people should know more about this amazing leafy vegetable. Voted up and useful, awesome.
Kejanny (author) from Papua New Guinea on December 17, 2012:
Hello eHealer, thank you for visiting my hub and leaving these encouraging comments. Regards, Kejanny.
Deborah from Las Vegas on December 17, 2012:
Excellent Kejanny and YUM! This is a useful hub that really helps people understand nutrition and the importance of nutrients in the diet. I pinned you and added to FB! Thanks!