Grilled-Steamed Water Spinach with Filipino Pork Adobo Sauce

This dish, made with fresh water spinach, can be served hot or cold; shrimp can be substituted for pork. Choose you own adventure!

Water spinach, also known as kangkong or morning glory, is a leafy green vegetable that is commonly used in Asian cuisine. It thrives in water and is signified by its long, thin stems and broad, arrow-shaped leaves that are slightly crunchy and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. A popular ingredient in stir-fries, soups, and salads, and is often cooked with garlic, ginger, and other spices for added flavor, water spinach is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a healthy choice for any diet.

Grilled-Steamed Water Spinach with Filipino Pork Adobo Sauce Recipe

Serves 2-4


1 bunch (approximately 1/2 lb) water spinach, washed and trimmed
1/2 lb pork belly or shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces, marinated with adobo
2 cups adobo marinade (Mama Sita’s brand or any equivalent)
1 cup pork/chicken/vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 or less cornstarch slurry
1/2 cup crispy garlic for garnish
Scallions for garnish


  1. Keep water spinach in a bundle and blanch or steam for about 4-5 minutes until slightly tender but still green in color.
  2. Sear pork until evenly browned and add marinade and liquid. Bring to a boil and drop to a simmer. Place a lid slightly cracked and braise until pork is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add brown sugar and dissolve. Thicken sauce with slurry, adding gradually until desired consistency. Adjust for seasoning and preference.
  4. Pour sauce over the water spinach and garnish with crispy garlic and shallots. Serve hot immediately and with a side of white rice.

Recipe by Rafe Vencio/ Photography by Laura Petrilla

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