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Cooking Sweet Potato Leaves: A Delicious Chinese Recipe

Consider trying sweet potato leaves for a unique addition to your stir-fry dishes. A common ingredient in Chinese cuisine, these leafy greens offer a range of nutrients such as vitamins A and C, along with fibre. Beyond their health benefits, sweet potato leaves are highly adaptable and can be cooked in multiple styles.

Vibrant sweet potato leaves stir-frying in a wok with garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil. A pair of chopsticks rests on the edge of the wok

To prepare sweet potato leaves, start by washing them thoroughly and removing any tough stems. From there, you can stir-fry them with garlic and ginger for a simple and flavorful side dish. For a heartier meal, consider adding seafood like shrimp or scallops to the mix. The sweet and savory flavors of the stir-fry pair perfectly with the delicate seafood.

Whether you're looking to switch up your weeknight dinner routine or just want to try something new, sweet potato leaves are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal. With their subtle sweetness and tender texture, they're sure to become a new favorite in your kitchen.

Key Takeaways

  • Sweet potato leaves are a nutritious and versatile vegetable commonly used in Chinese cuisine.
  • They can be prepared by stir-frying with garlic and ginger or paired with seafood for a heartier meal.
  • Sweet potato leaves are rich in vitamins and fiber, making them a healthy addition to any diet.

Nutritional Benefits

Fresh sweet potato leaves arranged with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. A steaming wok sits nearby

Sweet potato leaves are a great source of nutrients that can benefit your health in several ways. Here are some of the key nutritional benefits of sweet potato leaves:

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Sweet potato leaves are rich in various vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly. They are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin, eyes, and immune system. They also contain significant amounts of calcium, potassium, and iron, which are important for maintaining strong bones and muscles.

Dietary Fibre and Protein

Sweet potato leaves are also a good source of dietary fibre and protein. Dietary fibre is important for maintaining healthy digestion and preventing constipation. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in your body, including muscles, skin, and organs.

Incorporating seafood into your sweet potato leaves Chinese recipe is a great way to add more nutrients to your dish. You can try adding shrimp or fish to your stir-fry for a delicious and nutritious meal. Shrimp is a good source of protein and also contains calcium and vitamin D, which are important for maintaining strong bones. Fish, such as salmon or mackerel, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease.

Cultivation and Selection

Sweet potato leaves being carefully harvested and sorted for a traditional Chinese recipe

If you are interested in growing sweet potato leaves, you can easily do so by leaving a couple of sweet potatoes on the counter until they begin sprouting before planting them in a pot. Sweet potato leaves can also be found in specialty markets or Asian grocery stores.

Growing Sweet Potato Leaves

Sweet potato leaves can be grown in pots or in the ground. They require a sunny location and well-draining soil. When planting in pots, make sure the pot is at least 12 inches deep and wide. Fill the pot with potting soil and plant the sweet potato slips about 4 inches deep. Water the plants regularly and fertilize them every 2-3 weeks with a balanced fertilizer.

Choosing Fresh Leaves

When selecting sweet potato leaves, look for leaves that are bright green and tender. Avoid leaves that are yellowing or have brown spots. Fresh sweet potato leaves can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To add some seafood to your sweet potato leaves Chinese recipe, you can try using prawns or squid. Simply stir fry the seafood with garlic and ginger before adding in the sweet potato leaves. The seafood will add some extra flavour and texture to the dish.

Preparation Techniques

Sweet potato leaves being washed, chopped, and stir-fried with garlic and soy sauce in a sizzling wok

Cleaning and Cutting

Before cooking sweet potato leaves, you need to clean them properly. Take the leaves and pinch off each leaf, including the stem, from the main stalk and any other tender parts of the vegetables. Wash and rinse thoroughly a couple of times and set aside to drain off any excess water before cooking. Make sure to remove any damaged or wilted leaves.

Once the leaves are clean, you can cut them into small pieces, about 2 inches in length. Remove any tough stems, and discard them. You can also use a knife to chop the leaves into smaller pieces.

Boiling and Blanching

Boiling and blanching are two techniques that can help you achieve the perfect texture for your sweet potato leaves. To boil the leaves, bring a pot of water to a boil, add the sweet potato leaves, and cook for about 2-3 minutes until they are tender. Drain the leaves and set them aside.

Blanching, on the other hand, involves boiling the leaves for a shorter time before plunging them into cold water to stop the cooking process. This technique helps to preserve the bright green color of the leaves and prevent them from becoming too soft. To blanch sweet potato leaves, bring a pot of water to a boil, add the leaves and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then, quickly remove the leaves from the boiling water and place them in a bowl of ice water to cool.

For an added twist, you can also include seafood in your sweet potato leaves recipe. Shrimp or scallops would work well with this dish. Simply sauté the seafood in a separate pan with garlic and ginger before adding them to the sweet potato leaves.

Stir-Frying Fundamentals

Sweet potato leaves sizzle in a hot wok, tossed with garlic and soy sauce. Steam rises as the vibrant green leaves wilt and caramelize, creating a savory aroma

Mastering the Wok

Stir-frying is a cooking technique that originated in China and is now popular all over the world. The wok is the traditional cooking vessel used for stir-frying, and it is important to choose the right wok for the job. A carbon steel wok is ideal, as it heats up quickly and evenly, and is durable enough to withstand high heat.

To stir-fry properly, you need to heat your wok over high heat until it is smoking hot. Then, add your oil and swirl it around the wok to coat the surface. When the oil is hot, add your garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds until fragrant. Then, add your other ingredients in order of cooking time, with the longest-cooking ingredients going in first.

Balancing Flavours

A good stir-fry should have a balance of flavours, including sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. Oyster sauce is a common ingredient used to add sweetness and umami to a stir-fry, while Shaoxing wine adds depth of flavour. White pepper is often used instead of black pepper in Chinese cooking, as it has a milder flavour.

When stir-frying, it is important to taste your dish as you go along, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. If your stir-fry is too salty, you can add a little sugar to balance it out. If it is too sour, you can add a little more sweetness.

As a suggestion, you can add seafood to your sweet potato leaves stir-fry for a delicious twist. Prawns or scallops would be a great addition and can be added towards the end of cooking. Make sure to cook them quickly over high heat to prevent overcooking and rubbery texture.

Serving and Pairing

Sweet potato leaves being stir-fried with garlic and soy sauce, paired with steamed rice and a side of crispy tofu

Side Dish Suggestions

Sweet potato leaves stir-fry is a classic Chinese dish that is perfect as a side dish. It pairs well with a variety of other Chinese dishes, such as steamed rice, noodles, and soups. You can also serve it with a simple salad or roasted vegetables to create a balanced and healthy meal.

To add some variety to your meal, you can also try pairing sweet potato leaves stir-fry with other Chinese greens, such as bok choy, Chinese broccoli, or choy sum. These greens have a similar texture and flavour to sweet potato leaves and will complement the dish perfectly.

Complementary Main Dishes

If you're looking for a complementary main dish to serve with sweet potato leaves stir-fry, there are several options to choose from. Seafood is a great option that pairs well with the mild flavour of sweet potato leaves. You can try stir-frying some shrimp or scallops with garlic and ginger to create a delicious and healthy meal.

Alternatively, you can also pair sweet potato leaves stir-fry with other Chinese main dishes, such as kung pao chicken, beef and broccoli, or sweet and sour pork. These dishes offer a variety of flavours and textures that will complement the sweet potato leaves stir-fry perfectly.

Overall, sweet potato leaves stir-fry is a versatile dish that can be served as a side dish or as part of a larger Chinese meal. With its mild flavour and tender texture, it pairs well with a variety of other dishes, making it a great addition to any meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

A chef stir-fries sweet potato leaves with garlic and soy sauce in a sizzling wok. The vibrant green leaves glisten as they cook, emitting a savory aroma

How can I prepare a vegetarian dish with sweet potato leaves?

Sweet potato leaves are a great ingredient for vegetarian dishes. You can stir-fry them with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce for a simple and delicious meal. You can also use them in soups, stews, and curries. If you want to add some protein to your dish, you can use tofu or tempeh.

What's the simplest way to stir-fry sweet potato leaves?

The simplest way to stir-fry sweet potato leaves is to heat some oil in a wok or frying pan, add garlic and ginger, and then add the leaves. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the leaves are wilted and tender. Add some soy sauce or oyster sauce for extra flavour.

Can you suggest an easy recipe for sweet potato leaves?

Sure, here's a simple recipe for stir-fried sweet potato leaves:


  • 1 bunch sweet potato leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


  1. Wash and dry the sweet potato leaves.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the sweet potato leaves and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until wilted.
  5. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry for another minute.
  6. Serve hot with rice or noodles.

How do I make a soup with sweet potato leaves?

To make a soup with sweet potato leaves, you can use them in place of spinach or other leafy greens in your favourite soup recipe. You can also make a simple sweet potato leaf soup by sautéing onions and garlic in a pot, adding sweet potato leaves and stock, and simmering until the leaves are tender. You can add some cream or coconut milk for extra richness.

What are some ways to include sweet potato leaves in a chicken dish?

Sweet potato leaves are a great addition to chicken dishes. You can stir-fry them with chicken and vegetables for a quick and easy meal. You can also use them in curries or stews with chicken. If you want to add some seafood to your dish, you can use prawns or squid.

Are there any health benefits to eating sweet potato leaves regularly?

Yes, sweet potato leaves are packed with nutrients and vitamins. They are high in antioxidants, which can help protect against cancer and heart disease. They are also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin A. Eating sweet potato leaves regularly can help boost your immune system and improve your overall health.