Sweet Potato leaves

Recently, a lady called Cheryl has been appearing at the Castle Hill markets with a table of sweet potato leaves plucked fresh from her garden.
I was quite excited because I remember reading about sweet potato leaves in good living magazine, but not seeing any for sale since I read the article.
I managed to catch up with Cheryl when the markets got moved temporarily to the educational pavilion of the showgrounds in favour of the orchid show.
Sweet potato leaves are high in vitamins A, C, and B2 and are used as a vegetable in some African countries and Singapore.
Each bunch, wrapped in newspaper cost . Cheap!
I cooked these in two different ways, both after removing the tougher lower stems, which can get quite fibrous. First I cooked the stems and leaves together, by panfrying with garlic and chilli. The result was very much like water spinach (kang kong) or the Chinese ‘ong choy’. The texture itself was mucaligious, or the unkind would call it ‘slimy’.
So the second time I prepared this, I used the same technique I use with Ong Choy. You separate the leaves and stems, cook the stems first, and add the leaves at the end. I noted that with these leaves, when you snipped them off from the stem, a milky white sap emerged. The second dish was a bit drier, and I added some oyster sauce at the end.
Cheryl explained that I could grow the sweet potato leaves by leaving the stems in water until the roots sprouted. The roots grew very fast, 1/2 to 1 cm per day, with a water change daily.I have had more success with them than I have had with doing the same with Vietnamese basil!

Sweet Potato leaves by A Sydney Foodie
Sweet Potato leaves, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

Here, you can see the results of one week’s worth of root growth being planted. Hopefully I can grow my own sweet potatoes, as well as the leaves to enjoy!


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