2 Chinese Spinach Recipe Ideas 苋菜食谱

  1. Homemade Chinese Soups
  2. Asian vegetables
  3. Chinese spinach

2 Chinese Spinach Recipe Ideas 苋菜,两种煮法。

Chinese spinach is also known as amaranth leaves. In Cantonese is it called yeen choy and in Chinese, it is 苋菜 (xian cai). Many people mistake Chinese spinach for water spinach. They are not the same. Yours truly has long slender stems with oval-shaped leaves, while water spinach has hollow stems. 

The leaves may be light green with a roundish shape or dark green with deep red veins in the centre. There is a variety with dark green leaves, narrow with pointed tips.

The taste is a little like spinach but with less of the legendary edginess. Spinach could have been my favorite leafy vegetable if it does not set my teeth on edge... literally.

So, I guess Chinese spinach could be my favourite vegetable.

Chinese spinach is high in protein and vitamin A, B & C. It also has double the amount of iron compared to the normal spinach so it is great for growing kids.

It helps heal fractures, aids weight loss and detoxification by easing constipation.

It has been found to have the ability to destroy certain bacteria like the staphyloccocus aureus, pathogenic shigella, pseudomonas aeruginosa, salmonella typhi.

It is also a good dietary supplement for heat stroke or any ailments resulting from the summer heat.

It works best in quick soups as it cooks quickly. The cooked stems are crunchy and the leaves tender and sweet.

Idea 1: Chinese spinach soup 上汤苋菜

Chinese spinach soup is very easy to make. Drop a big bunch of amaranth leaves into a pot of boiling soup stock. This is, of course, very basic and plain. My grandmother likes to "beef" up the soup by adding eggs. Not just the normal fresh chicken egg either. She likes to add century egg and salted egg. 

The video tutorial below shows Cooking Ah Pa explaining how the century egg adds flavour to the Chinese spinach soup.  

Recipe 1. Chinese spinach soup with century egg


  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5g goji berries
  • 8 dried Chinese red dates
  • 300g chinese spinach
  • 1 century egg
  • 1 tbsp potato flour mixed with 3 tbsp fresh chicken stock


  1. Put the 600ml chicken stock into a medium pot together with the salt, goji berries and red dates and bring to a boil
  2. Remove the roots and tough stems from the Chinese spinach
  3. Add the Chinese spinach into the soup stock and cook until the spinach is soft and has shrunk
  4. Remove the shell of the century egg and cut into pieces
  5. Add the century egg and mix well
  6. Thicken the soup with the potato flour mixture

Idea 2: Garlic Chinese spinach recipe

Another popular and quick way to serve amarantha leaves is to fry them with garlic. There are many variations to this quick fry dish. Ingredients with strong flavour such as fermented bean curd, salted egg, and belachan, a fermented shrimp paste.  

.I found 2 Chinese spinach recipes using sambal belachan: 

  1. Sambal Chinese Spinach from Hungrygowhere
  2. Sambal Char Heng Cai from Marina's Kitchen 

How to prepare Chinese spinach

I was taught to clean and prepare it with just my hands.

Start at the root end. When you pinch the root off, peel off the thin fibrous layer covering the entire stem. Continue to pinch the stem off every 2 inches. Continue to peel off any fibrous layer left. When you come to the leaves, pinch them off in small cluster of 3 to 4 leaves together.

Wash thoroughly to remove sand and grit. Dry by leaving them in a colander over the sink for several minutes or spin them in a salad spinner.

The fastest way is of course to use the knife. I always find doing that wasteful. Chinese spinach stems are delicious and the more the merry. 

How to grow Chinese spinach?

Edible Asian Chinese Red Stripe Tender Round Leaves Amaranth Seeds by Viablekitchenseeds

Happy Souping, Phoebe

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