Asian recipes/ Dinner/ Lunch/ One-pot recipes/ Sauces, dressings & condiments/ Side Dishes/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

Kangkung Pelecing (Water spinach in a spicy tomato & coconut sauce)

16 January 2022

We loved this side dish when we were in Lombok and ordered it pretty much with every meal. This spicy water spinach salad is packed full of flavour and healthy goodness. The water spinach is blanched and then topped off a tomatoey-coconut sauce. It’s areal umami dish with sweet, sour and salty notes.

I served it recently with Ayam Taliwang Bakar, a spicy grilled chicken dish, also from Lombok. Get the recipe here.

The recipe for the water spinach I got from the website What To Cook Today.

Water spinach in a spicy tomato & coconut sauce

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Dinner, lunch, side dish Asian, Indonesian, Lombok
By What to Cook Today & Saffron Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 500g kangkung (water spinach/morning glory) (cleaned and discard any tough stems)
  • 3/4 cup toasted peanuts
  • Coconut mixture:
  • 1 cup grated unsweetened coconut
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 1-2 lime leaves (remove the tough stems and cut into thin strips)
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (to fry in)
  • Sambal:
  • 1 large tomato
  • 4 long red chilis (less is you like it less psicy)
  • 2 bird's eye chili
  • ½ tsp shrimp paste / trassi
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Small squeeze lime juice (to taste)


The Kangkung (water spinach) - 5 minutes


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.


Add the water spinach and and let it blanch for 30 seconds until it just starts to soften.


Drain off water and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, this way it will keep it's fresh green colour.


Squeeze out excess water and set aside.

The Coconut Mixture - 15 minutes


Steam the grated coconut for 10 minutes in a bamboo or vegetable steamer.


To a food processor add all the coconut ingreditents into a blender (except the oil) and blend it into a paste. Add a drop of water to loosen it up a bit. Set aside.

The Sambal - 10 minutes


Char the skin of the tomato (either in a grill pan, above a gas flame or under the grill). Place the charred tomato in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 5 minutes.


Peel off the skin of the tomato and add it to the (now empty) food processor together with the chili, shrimp paste, salt, water, and lime juice. Blend until it's smooth.

The Sauce - 10 minutes


In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil


Add the sambal mixture and the coconut mixture.


Sauté until the sambal is somewhat thickened and no longer watery. Taste and season with salt, sugar or lime juice as needed.

To Serve


Spread the sambal over the kangkung and toss to make sure the sauce coats the kangkung. (Don't do this ahead of time, only dress the salad when ready to serve.)


Serve with some toasted peanuts sprinkled over the top.

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