Klaroen (Chinese Spinach)
Klaroen is one of my favorite Surinamese vegetables. The vegetable also known as Chinese Spinach in English. Klaroen is similar to spinach and it has a mild spinach like flavor. Just like spinach, you can prepare it in several ways. The recipe I’m sharing with you today is a simple stir fried version which you can eat with your meal.
In the Netherlands you’ll have to check a Surinamese toko or a Surinamese stand on the market to see if they have klaroen available. In other countries, I would suggest checking your international supermarket for the vegetable. Check out my post about Klaroen for more information as well as the latin name, to help you find the right variety of the vegetable.
Whenever I can get my hands on this delicious Surinamese vegetable, I love to eat it. The only hassle is preparing the vegetable, you’ll have to “pluck” the leaves off if they’re big, which means a lot of work. If you have klaroen with younger leaves you can use the stem as well, you’ll just have to finely chop them. Unfortunately I’m not always lucky to come across young klaroen with small leaves often.
Once you’ve plucked the klaroen leaves the hard part is over. Wash and rinse the leaves and set aside. In a large skillet or wok heat oil and lightly fry finely chopped onion and garlic with a piece of shrimp paste. Add the plucked leaves en keep stirring till you see the leaves start to wilt. Similar to cooking spinach, the vegetable will reduce in size as it starts to cook.
The klaroen will also become moist and watery, once that happens you can turn up the heat to reduce the moisture till it evaporates. Once the moisture has evaporated the dish is done and ready to serve.
That’s it. You can even add a little pepper if you like to make the dish a little more spicy.
- 2.2 pounds fresh klaroen (chinese spinach) 1 kilogram
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil 15 gram
- 1/2 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (trassi)
- 1/2 Madame Jeanette Pepper or scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and clean the Klaroen. If the Klaroen has big leaves, take them off the stems and don't use the stems. If the Klaroen has small, young, leaves, you can use the stems, just chop them finely.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic as well as the pepper if you're using one.
- Lightly fry the garlic, onion, pepper and shrimp paste in the butter or oil.
- Add the Klaroen and stir fry continually till it's done (it'll take roughly 10 minutes). You'll notice the Klaroen will start to wilt, similar to cooking spinach.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Klaroen always reduces in size significantly after cooking, you’ll end up with roughly half (2.2 lbs fresh klaroen will be roughly 1.1 lbs after cooking)
- Shrimp paste adds an extra dimension and depth of flavor to the dish. However, if you can’t find any shrimp paste you can leave it out. Just adjust your seasoning or use a tablespoon of fish sauce to give some more depth to the dish.
- This recipe serves 2-4 people depending on how large portions are served and what you’re eating with the dish.
- Please note that the cup measurements in this recipe are approximate. Cup measurements have been added for those that prefer using cups. The recipe is most accurate using weights measurements.
- The Nutrition facts in this recipe are based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in the recipe and are based on statistical averages. The exact nutritional values may vary depending on the ingredients used etc. Nutritional facts exclude side dishes.