Crisp, mild-tasting water spinach is a favorite leafy green enjoyed in Taiwan. When lightly sautéed, the hollow stalks retain a crisp texture that’s appealing enough for the finest banquet tables. While often simply sautéed with garlic, a touch of fermented tofu is sometimes added to provide a hint of savory flavor and a cloudy complexion to the liquids released from the greens. Fermented tofu is found in tiny cubes packed in small jars, and is extremely potent. Only a small dab needs to be used, mixed with some water, to gently flavor an entire dish of these greens.


Credit: Pete Lee

Recipe Summary test

10 mins
10 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Mix the fermented tofu with the water in a small bowl.

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the water spinach along with a couple pinches of salt. Cook, stirring, to wilt completely, about 2 minutes. Pour in the fermented tofu mixture and stir to incorporate thoroughly. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes to heat through, tasting for seasoning and adding salt as desired. Serve immediately.


Excerpted from THE FOOD OF TAIWAN © 2015 by Cathy Erway. Photography © 2015 by Pete Lee. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.