Rau Sâm Đất Xào Tỏi – Stir Fry Waterleaf with Garlic

About Waterleaf / Rau Sâm Đất

Talinum fruticosum is a common vegetable In Vietnam called rau sâm đất and is also known as waterleaf or Florida spinach. It is a perennial herbacious vegetable here in Florida. My parents used to grow this vegetable back in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The vegetable would die in the winter and the seeds germinate in the spring. It can be grown easily by stem cuttings but the value is its ginseng roots that are grown from seeds that the plants from stem cuttings will not have.

My family’s favorite way to consume waterleaf or rau sâm đất is by stir frying it. My mom would used to cook this in soup. It’s a good substitute for spinach malabar and amaranth.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Serving: 4-6


  • 2.5 lb waterleaf tips and leaves
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Stir fry sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Viet Huong fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp black and white ground pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemongrass powder
  • 1 tsp corn starch with 2 Tbsp water


  1. Harvesting the waterleaf to cook this simple and quick stir fry dish is my way of controlling the the waterleaf aggressive growth and spread. I always cook two batches of this to share with my friends. Anyway, I would snap off the tips and if the stems snap off easily with my two fingers, then I’ll use that part, otherwise, the remains goes into my yard waste bin.

2. Wash the vegetable and mix the stir fry sauce.

3. I heated up my 14″ Hexclad wok with oil on medium high heat. Sizzle the minced garlic quickly and toss in the vegetable. Then crank up to high heat.

4. Pour the stir fry sauce in. Stir frequently to cook the water leaf evenly. This takes only about two minutes. Transfer to plate and serve as a side dish or simple with steamed jasmine rice. Enjoy!

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