Padang cuisine is definitely one of my favorite Indonesian cuisines. And whenever I have the chance to visit a Padang restaurant, it is almost a certainty that I will grab some gulai daun singkong among the mountain of dishes to choose from.
I mean, have you ever walked into a Padang restaurant? The display of so many dishes, stacked like mountains, is the main draw, and the smell, of course.
It is always so difficult to decide which dishes to get, but this unassuming curry is so full of flavor, and to me, a proper nasi Padang is not complete without it.
What do I need to prepare gulai daun singkong Padang?
Like most Padang dishes, the ingredients list for this dish is quite long. You will need:
- daun singkong (yam/cassava/sweet potato leaves). These are sold as yam leaves in my nearby Asian market. For this specific dish, kale is the best substitute if you cannot find daun singkong in your grocery store.
- coconut milk
- ground coriander (Indonesian: bubuk ketumbar)
- ground turmeric (Indonesian: bubuk kunyit). You can use fresh turmeric too if you wish.
- shallots. I use smaller Asian/Chinese shallots, but feel free to use regular French shallots too. Just go by weight measurement to make sure you don’t use too many shallots. 🙂
- red chilies. I use red Fresno chilies, but you can use red cayenne, or even red bird-eye chilies if you really love spicy dishes.
- candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri). You can substitute this with the same amount of macadamia nuts.
- daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves). These are not the same as regular bay leaves. If you can’t find these, it is best to omit.
- kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk). Added at the very last minute to impart some fresh citrus note. This is optional and can be omitted.
How do I prepare yam leaves?
From the market, yam leaves are sold attached to their stalks. Try to break the stalks, if they are fibrous looking, simply use the leaves. If the stalks are tender and not fibrous at all, feel free to include the stalks too in the dish. Regardless, please do the following to prep your yam leaves:
- Pinch off each leaf and its stem from the main stalk.
- If the main stalk has tender parts, usually more towards the top near where all the leaves are, pinch of those parts too. Probably 50% of the time, you will find that the main stalk will be too tough/fibrous to be used.
- Wash and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove dirt.
- Set aside to drain excess water before cooking.
How do I cook gulai daun singkong?
Here is how I cook gulai daun singkong at home:
- Prep the daun singkong (yam leaves) as described in the previous section.
- Grind the spice paste. I use a food processor for this. You can use a blender, or even traditional mortar and pestle if that’s what you have.
- Heat cooking oil in a wok/pot/deep skillet (I use a wok), and fry the spice paste until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add daun salam (if using) and lemongrass, cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add yam leaves and water into the wok, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add coconut milk, salt, and sugar. Continue simmering for 5 minutes.
- Add kaffir lime leaves (if using), and stir for 1 minute. Turn off heat, and serve immediately with steamed white rice.
Other Padang dishes recipes to try
If you love this gulai daun singkong and would love to try cooking other Padang restaurant dishes at home. Please give these recipes a try:
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