Monday, August 10, 2009

Sweet Potato Leaves

This past week's CSA share brought with it my first culinary encounter with sweet potato leaves. I was a little bewildered at first, but soon learned of their versatility in many different types of dishes and ability to replace most other leafy greens in recipes. That being said, it is rather difficult to find sweet-potato-leaf-specific recipes anywhere. Since they are used mainly in Asian and Pacific Island cuisine, some people find it easiest to begin their search within those boundaries. The following recipes include a Filipino-style dish (courtesy of and one of my own that uses some traditional complementary flavors. The bottom line: as strange and daunting as the sweet potato leaf may be, it is surprisingly versatile and makes a great green for culinary exploration and experimentation. Enjoy!

Kamote (Sweet Potato Green) Salad – a traditional Filipino dish
Courtesy of

2 cups sweet potato leaves (no stems)
Water for boiling
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup tomatoes, sliced
White vinegar, to taste
Soy sauce, to taste
Salt, to taste
Cooked rice, optional

Directions: Rinse and drain sweet potato leaves. Bring water to a boil with a pinch of salt, put in leaves until tender and cooked through. Drain sweet potato leaves and transfer them to a bowl. Add red onion, tomato, vinegar, and soy sauce to taste, and toss thoroughly. Enjoy on its own or over cooked rice.

Simple Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Leaves

One bunch of sweet potato leaves (soft stems are okay to use, too)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 dried chilies, minced or 1 ½ tsp. chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
Soy sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Bring water to boil with salt, blanch the sweet potato leaves for about two minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Heat oil in skilled over medium heat. Sauté garlic and chilies (or chili powder) until garlic is fragrant, about a minute, stirring often. Chop the leaves and add them to the skillet. Stir-fry for about three minutes, until leaves are dark and tender. Add soy sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.

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