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Chinese Spinach in Superior Broth

Spinach in Superior Broth

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Update (Nov 2013): First posted in Apr 2010, now updated with new photos & improved recipe.

I am calling this dish “spinach in superior broth” (上汤菠菜/苋菜) only because that is how our restaurants & zi char stalls name this dish.

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With a fancy name like that, of course the eateries charge premium for this dish, when the home-cooked version is actually inexpensive (under S$3!). What makes the home-cooked version “superior”, in my humble opinion, is the home-made ikan bilis stock which is natural and free from artificial flavourings & MSG. I love this dish thoroughly because it is both a vegetable and a soup dish in one. I make ikan bilis stock once a week and keep it in the fridge, so I have an instant soup base to whip this dish in a jiffy whenever I want to.

Spinach in Superior Broth

There are actually many variations for this dish – such as with wolfberries, salted eggs or a thicker soup (simply thicken the broth with cornstarch solution). Use your creativity to adapt this recipe!

Leave a Comment

76 Responses to “Chinese Spinach in Superior Broth”

  1. HoppingHammy — April 18, 2010 @ 2:33 am

    So many new types of food to see! 8O I really need to get out more haha!


    • wiffy replied: — April 20th, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

      I don’t blame you for not seeing this before because it’s more common in South East Asia :) Actually I am really grateful that you are not put off by our local cuisine which may seem strange for a western palate, thanks for keeping an open mind and for your nice comments :)


  2. juhuacha — April 20, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

    There is a wide variety of spinach in NTUC. I always use “yin choi” for this dish as specified by one of my recipe book. The troublesome part is to pull the thread from the stem. However, I didnt know that it will taste so good with wolfberries. Thanks for the tip.


    • wiffy replied: — April 20th, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

      is “yin choi” the spinach with purple veins? I didn’t know it can be used in this dish, I’m going to try it next time. Thanks for sharing :)


      • juhuacha replied: — April 23rd, 2010 @ 11:33 am

        Hi Wiffy,
        Another type of spinach is known as “yin choi” or “苋菜”. It is under the brand of pasar or yilin from NTUC. Believe it should be the round spinach that u have tried.

        • wiffy replied: — April 23rd, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

          oh it’s 苋菜, then I have tried before. I thought it’s another type. I like that one! Thx juhuacha :)

  3. Ms Moon — April 20, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

    I do agree that 苋菜 or 菠菜 are the most suitable vegetables for this dish. Thanks for sharing the recipe for sauce mixture, it’s the key element the success of the dish. Hmm… thinking of cooking this as I’m having some anchovy stock in the fridge :-)


    • wiffy replied: — April 20th, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

      Hope the recipe turns out well for you :)


  4. Angelyn — April 27, 2010 @ 10:22 am

    wow i tried this dish at home and it’s really good.. =)


    • wiffy replied: — April 27th, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

      wow happy to hear that. Thank you! :-)


  5. Sotongcook — June 26, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

    Wat is white bait…..sorry mayb I ask real sotong q…


    • wiffy replied: — June 28th, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

      hi sotongcook, they look like ikan bilis but it’s the white/translucent type before deep frying. Some people call it silver fish (not to be confused with the insect found in books). You can get it at the Chinese dried goods section, I bought mine at Fu Hua. Hope this helps.


  6. Tastes of Home — July 28, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

    wa…I really like this dish…I will definitely try this recipe :)


  7. Mary — October 18, 2010 @ 9:16 am

    Hi Wiffy…

    I tried this dish on sat and it turned out well….except that i don’t have abalone sauce so i used salt instead. Frying ikan billis is a real challenge…. :-)

    thanks for the easy steps you provided….i’m going to try other receipe…hee hee


    • wiffy replied: — October 18th, 2010 @ 10:28 am

      Yes frying ikan bilis can be a challenge, make sure they are dried before adding to the oil. Glad it turned out well, happy cooking :)


  8. stella — May 10, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

    I just tried out the recipe with wolfberries, love it! Thank you for sharing :)



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