Cassava Leaves Curry
Origin: West Sumatra
- 500 g cassava leaves (use fiddlehead, curly kale or savoy as a substitutes )
- 50 g anchovies, fried (if preffered)
- 1 stem lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, crashed
- 1 tsp tamarind pulp soak in 2 tbsp water
- 2 pc salam leaves or bay leaves
- 2 cm fresh galangale, bruished
- 3 pc kaffir lime leaves
- 400 ml very thick coconut milk
- 300 ml water
- 2 tsp salt or to taste
- oil for frying
Spice for the paste
- 3 pc large red chillies, chopped
- 6 pc shallots, chopped
- 3 gloves garlic, chopped
- 5 pc candlenuts, chopped
- 2 cm fresh turmeric or 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 cm fresh ginger, chopped
- 2 tsp coriander seeds or 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
Cassava Leaves Curry
In his hometown in West Sumatra , this curry is usually made with fiddlehead, so they call it "Gulai Daun Paku ". While in Padang restaurants, I often see them made with long beans and cabbage. Cassava leaf is indeed my favorite, unfortunately this one is not available here in the west . As an alternative I replace it with curly kale (German = Gruenkohl ). As curly kale is not always obtainable then I made an experiment with savoy ( German = Wirsing). At first I was skeptical with it's hard texture . But after I tried some tricks here & there, I am quite surprised & satisfied with the result. This curry dish tastes really superb, I think what a pity when I skip it from the menu-list just because of one distinctive leaf requirement. Indeed, this curry always tastes delicious, it doesn't matter what kind of vegetables you use!!.Note: Savoy has a really hard texture, almost resemble to old papaya leaves . To get them soft, discard the hard ribs of the leaves, add 1 tbsp salt, mix and squeeze until the texture getting soften. Rinse them under the running water then blanch until cooked. Have a nice try and good luck 🙂
- If you replace cassava leaf with savoy or curly kale, discard the hard part/rib of the leaves.
- Special for savoy but not necessary for curly kale: Add 1 tbsp salt, mix and squeeze until the texture getting soften.
- Soft savoy.
- Blanch cassava/savoy/curly kale leaves until tender.
- Set aside to drain then roughly slice.
- Heat 50 ml oil in a frying pan, fry the ancovies until golden brown. Set aside to drain.
- Put all ingredients for the seasoning paste in a blender or food processor & blend until smooth. (If necessery add a little bit oil to help the blending process).
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan, stir-fry the paste with lemongrass, galingale, kaffir-lime leaves & bay leaves.
- Stir-fry the paste all the time until cooked & fragrant.( approx. 10 min)
- Transfer the paste to a larger saucepan. Add in the water and tamarind juice.
- Bring to boil over medium heat. Add cassava leaves or any other sort which had been prepared.
- Pour-in the thick coconut milk, bring to boil then reduce the heat to simmer and stir often for 15 minutes.
- Adjust the seasoning, add salt & sugar to taste. Stir to mix. Garnish with fried anchovies (if any). Serve hot.
- If you're using blender or food processor instead of mortar or grinding stone to make a spice paste, you will probably need to add some liquid to help the blending process. Therefore there is an important method to be noted to get the optimum result.
- 1st: If the spice paste should be fried first in a hot oil then you should add a little amount of OIL into the grinder/blender.
- 2nd: If the spice will be simmered in either water, coconut milk or broth then adding the specified liquid or a small amount of water is recommended. But please do not apply it vice versa, otherwise you could absolutely ruin the taste 😉