Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stir Fry Sweet Leaf with Eggs

Here I have, the most talk-about and featured dish for this month's Malaysian Food Fest.    Sweet leaf or mani cai (马尼菜)is a totally new vegetable to me.  I have not tried this vegetable before, or perhaps taken it without knowing, as I read that sweet leaf is commonly added to ban mian (板面), a popular handmade noodle, served in soup.  Initially, I thought it was wolfberry leaves (枸杞菜), which has bigger leaves and sharp thorns on the stem.  The picture below is the bunch of sweet leaf that I bought from the wet market.

I read from Kelly's post that there is an important step when preparing this vegetable:  Remove the bitter juice from the leaves by adding salt to the leaves, wait for a few minutes, squeeze out the juice, then rinse with water. Too much of these bitter juice is harmful to our body, though I'm not sure how much is considered excessive.  And removing the bitter juice also made the dish tastes better.  Since this is the first time I cooking this vegetable, no harm taking this step.

Preparing the sweet leaf:
Remove the leaves from the stem.  Place your thumb and index finger on the stem, glide down and the leaves will come out easily.  Rinse the leaves.  Rub some salt (I used 1 to 2 tsp) into the vegetables, wait a few minutes, then squeeze out the juice.  Rinse with water thoroughly and squeeze again.

How I prepare this:
Beside the main ingredients, sweet leaf and eggs, I added one salted egg whites (leftover from my mooncake baking...), a little crushed fried shallots and some wolfberries, for colours and added flavour to this dish.  I have also taken an extra step to lightly stir fry the eggs first, dish up before stir-frying the vegetable with garlic.  This adds aroma to the dish.

The taste:
Now, the most important part ... how's the taste?  I do not find any distinct taste from this vegetable.  It does not taste bitter (maybe cos I have squeezed out the bitter juice) nor sweet or any special flavour/fragrance.  If you have tasted other leafy vegetables like cai xin, kailan, baby spinach, shanghai green, etc  you can identify them immediately as they have their unique flavour.   One thing I noticed is the tough texture of the leaves, like chewing paper.  Maybe I have bought the older and tougher leaves?  I kept some leaves to cook soup noodles the next day, as I want to taste the different (if any), if cooked in soup.  Hmmm... it tastes the same in soup.

(serves 2 to 3)

A big bunch of sweet leaf (see above for preparation)
2 eggs, beaten + 1 tbsp fried shallots, crushed
1 salted egg white (add a little to the beaten eggs)
1 tbsp wolfberries, soaked in warm water
2 cloves garlic, chopped
A little soy sauce, to taste (optional, since I have added salted egg whites)

1) Heat up wok and add some oil.  Pour the beaten egg into the wok and use the wok spatula to scramble the eggs immediately.  When the egg turns soft and scrambled, dish it up.

2) Heat up the wok and add some more oil.  Stir fry the chopped garlic and add the sweet leaf.  Stir fry the leaves till soften, then add in the scrambled eggs.   Toss to combine the leaves and eggs (add a little water at the same time for flavours to combine).  Add in the wolfberries and the remaining salted egg whites.  Stir well and  dish up.

3) Garnish with some fried shallots.

I am submitting this dish to Malaysian Food Fest, Sarawak Month hosted by Sharon of Feats of Feasts.


  1. Hayırlı sabahlar, ellerinize sağlık. Çok iştah açıcı görünüyor. İyi hafta sonları.


  2. Hi Fong, this vege can be home grown. I like to cook this vege in soup and stir fry. You have explained in detail about the vegetable and I'll link your post to mine so that more people get to understand it better. Was told it is pesticide free.

    1. Is it just place the stem in soil after removing the leaves? I think I prefer it with soup, as it helps to soften the texture a little. But I still prefer wolfberry leaves, probably I'm so used to eating that.


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