Vegetables and herbs are an irreplaceable part of Vietnamese main meals. Thanks to the tropical climate, Vietnam has many different kinds of green which make the cuisine more colorful and nutritious. And morning glory is one of the most mentioned names on the must-try vegetables and is often seen in restaurants’ menus when you come to Vietnam.
The Origin of Morning Glory
As you may know, morning glory is the name of a flower that mostly blooms in the early morning, and in Vietnam, people cultivate it to eat the stem and leaves of this plant. It is believed that the morning glory flower was originally from China and used in medicine at first and later, brought to many different countries such as Japan, Australia, and Vietnam.
Morning Glory as Food in Vietnamese Meals
The flavor and texture of morning glory are exactly the reason why Vietnamese people enjoy it so much. Its stem skin is quite thick but hollow inside, creating a crunchy texture and juiciness at the same time, suitable to make different dishes. By the look and its use, you may mistake Rau muong (morning glory) for Rau nhut (Water mimosa), but the leaves of water mimosa are quite different, and its texture when cooked is a bit chewier than that of morning glory.
Another reason making morning glory a favorite food in Vietnam is that the morning glory plant has a lot of nutritional values, such as vitamins (C, B1, and B2) and minerals like iron, which are good for your eyes and anemia.
Stir-fried morning glory with ramen noodles and sea snails
The morning glory plant is a common food for Vietnamese meals, so they are sold widely in every local market and supermarket. Due to the season, the price of morning glory can be changed, but it is usually from about VND 10,000 to VND 20,000 for a kilogram of Rau muong.
If you think meals with vegetables are dull, you may check out these recipes to make delicious dishes from just morning glory and rethink your decision.
1. Rau muong xao toi (Morning glory saute with garlic)
Stir-fried morning glory with other vegetarian dishes
Rau muong xao toi is a Vietnamese classic made from simple ingredients. This dish may be the most popular in the country because of its taste and easy-to-make recipe.
Before sauteing and seasoning, the morning glory is soaked in cold water to keep it crunchy and green. Then it is put on a hot pan with garlic and a bit of oil and served with soy sauce or fermented bean curd along with rice. You can also use stir-fried beef to add a bit of meaty flavor to the dish.
2. Canh chua rau muong (Sweet and sour soup cooked with morning glory)
Besides tomatoes or pineapples in Canh chua, people also prefer morning glory for a little bit different flavor but the recipe to cook sweet and sour soup is still the same as the original one, which has a sour and a bit sweet taste from tamarind. Instead of using fish as protein, in Canh chua rau muong, you can use shrimp, pork, and even better with beef.
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3. Rau muong luoc (Boiled/poached morning glory)
This dish is as simple as the way it is called. It would be super convenient for anyone who is busy but still wants to have a plate of vegetables. The secret to making this dish successful is adding a little salt when boiling and as soon as the morning glory is well-cooked, put it into the cold water to preserve the crunchy and sweet taste. Pairing it with a dish of chili soy sauce, you will find yourself craving for more.
4. Dua rau muong (Morning glory pickle)
Morning glory pickles (the small bowl in the middle) go well with greasy and fatty dishes
The ingredients of this pickle are really simple, you just need morning glory, vinegar, sugar, salt, and water. The mixture of brine needs to be done first, then it is used to soak the poached morning glory. Just like other Vietnamese pickles, morning glory pickles can be used after 1-2 days of soaking.
5. Lau (Hotpot)
Hotpot is a perfect dish in which you can enjoy different kinds of meats and vegetables. Morning glory is an ingredient that is easy to find, and you can put it in a regular version or a spicy and sour version of hotpot. The morning glory can be fully cooked to a soft texture, or you can pour hot broth over it to keep its crunch.
Read more on Traditional Vietnamese Family Meals
Summary of What is Morning Glory
The cuisine of Vietnam is definitely on the list of the best things that can make your trip unforgettable, especially the various vegetables and one of them is the morning glory. Morning glory is considered a must-try food when you have a trip to Vietnam because of its special taste that you can try in different dishes and also all of the nutritional values it has.
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