Veggie’s Revenge will make you want to eat your vegetables every single time (and lick the plate clean afterwards, too). In this column, we’ll prepare evil vegetarian dishes that are not advisable to cook if you are planning to lose weight. Here in Veggie’s Revenge, we give greens a bad name.
Kangkong is one of the most-used vegetables in Asian dishes, especially Filipino ones. Not to be mistaken for kale, we know kangkong as the friendly bunch of greens that often makes an appearance on our Sunday tables. Whether sautéed adobo-style or drowned in sinigang soup, kangkong, just like the smell of rain, is familiar and reminiscent of home.
This recipe attempts to corrupt whatever warm and wholesome feelings we may have for this healthy swamp cabbage. A spinoff of Crispy Kangkong, we coated these leafy babies with tempura batter, deep-fried them to a crisp, and dipped them in a bagoong-gata dip.
And yes, bagoong-gata actually tastes great. I first encountered this queer combination in Zamboanga. I have been told they use fish to make it instead of shrimp. We squeezed a bit of lemon into the dip to cut through the fishy taste of the bagoong and richness of the gata. Paired with our tempura-style greens, you will never look at kangkong the same way again.
Kangkong Chips with Bagoong Gata Dip
Total Time: 30 minutes / Yield: 3-5 servings
Ingredients for the Kangkong Chips
- 1 bunch kangkong leaves
- Instant tempura batter
- Oil for deep-frying
Ingredients for the Bagoong-Gata Dip
- 1/4 cup gata (you can buy the ones in tetra packs)
- 2 tsps. sweet bagoong
- a squeeze of lemon
- Remove the kangkong leaves from the stems and wash them thoroughly. You wouldn’t want to have worms squirming inside your stomach.
- Pat them dry with paper towels. This is important so that the tempura batter will stick evenly on the leaves. It will also prevent the hot oil from splattering as you deep fry.
- Pre-heat the oil in a deep pot for frying.
- Prepare the tempura batter mix as indicated on the box.
- Lightly coat the kangkong leaves in tempura batter and fry them in the oil (1-2 minutes).
- Place them on a separate plate covered in paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
- In a separate bowl, add the gata and the bagoong. Mix well.
- Squeeze a bit of lemon juice into the mixture and add a pinch of salt for flavor. Adjust according to taste.
- Transfer the tempura chips onto a serving dish and enjoy with the bagoong-gata dip.