Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sweet Potatoes Leaves

Once a week I receive 3 catties (or 4 lbs) of organic vegetables from Hong Chi Association (that I order and pay for, of course!)

Here is what I found in my basket last Thursday:
  • Long beans (also called yard long beans/ asparagus beans/ “horn beans” in Chinese
  • Green bell peppers,
  • Eggplants, and
  • Sweet potato leaves / fàan-syú-yihp 

I love the tuberous root (or sweet potato). Chinese people make a soup with it that is very yummy. It is called, in Cantonese, fàan-syú tòhng-séui. This is prepared with fresh ginger and 'traditional' raw slab sugar (made with sugar, molasses and cane juice). I have bought the tuberous roots before but never the leaves. The latter can be found at wet markets but it is less common than other Chinese greens (e.g. spinach, water spinach, or white cabbage [there are so many spelling: baahk-choi /bok choy / pak-choi]).

Although it takes a while to wash leafy green vegetables and remove grit and dirt it is time well spent as the leaves are so tender and sweet!

Sweet potato leaves / Fàan-syú-yihp

Preparation: First remove the rough ends and bad leaves (keep the stems). Then, soak the sweet potato leaves in water for at least ½ hour. Rinse well several times. Drain in colander.

Here are 2 ways to cook sweet potato leaves:

  1. Warm up a wok over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and swirl around.
  2. Add 1 clove of garlic (chopped); stir-fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add all the leaves in wok.  Keep stirring the vegetables with the spatula. Add some water if necessary (I don’t put too much oil so I need to add liquid). Stir-fry until cooked but still bright green.
  4. Add salt to taste.
  5. Transfer to a dish and serve hot.

Stir-frying sweet potato leaves - the leaves are shrinking

Stir-fried sweet potato leaves

Steamed: You can also steam the sweet potato leaves on top of the rice. Once the rice is cooked open the rice cooker and put the leaves on top. Cover the rice cooker with the lid and let stand for about 5 minutes (let the rice cooker on ‘keep warm’ position).

Sweet potato leaves on top of rice

Steamed sweet potato leaves

Steamed sweet potato leaves with rice
For both methods the quantity of leaves will reduce by about a quarter after cooking.
Note: The leaves looked wrinkled and shriveled but believe me this dish is easy to make, full of vitamins and minerals and tastes deliciously sweet!

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