Sinigang, a sour soup with meat or seafood and vegetables, has always been a favorite with my daughters. When they were toddlers, they were especially fond of sinigang na bangus. By the time they were in grade school, Sam preferred chicken sinigang while Alex favored pork sinigang. But whether the sinigang was cooked with meat or seafood, they had a special way of dividing the kangkong (water spinach) in the soup — Alex took the leaves; Sam had the stalks.
Their preferences haven’t changed to this day. Sam has turned vegetarian, I cook meatless sinigang for her and I try to remember to include more kangkong stalks than leaves.
Two days ago, I had a bunch of kangkong to make lunch with for omnivorous Speedy and me, and vegetarian Sam. I made a new bulalo dish with the leaves, and I created this stir fry with kangkong stalks and mushroom balls for Sam.
If you have fresh mushrooms (shiitake or oyster mushrooms would be especially good), I suggest that you choose them over the mushroom balls. Otherwise, mushroom balls will do. But since vegetarian mushroom balls tend to be terribly bland, remember to season them well.
- 1 tbsp. of cooking oil
- 1 tsp. of minced garlic
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 finger chili, thinly sliced
- about 5 mushroom balls, sliced into rings
- 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce
- a little splash of rice vinegar
- a generous pinch of sugar
- kangkong stalks, cut into half-inch lengths, about ¾ c.
- salt and pepper to taste
- thinly sliced scallions, to garnish (optional)
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan.
- Add the garlic, shallots, chili and mushroom balls. Saute for half a minute. Pour in the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Cook until the mushroom ball sliced have soaked up the seasonings.
- Add the kangkong stalks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir fry for three to four minutes or until the kangkong stalks are cooked through but still a bit crisp.
- Garnish with thinly sliced scallions and serve at once.