with Maria Fhebie Ortil

Now on the No. 10 issue of the Volume 2 of the Philippine Muslim Today, I find it more pleasant for me to write a Halal Dish of our neighboring Malaysia.


Hence, for this issue a Sweet Potato Leaf or in Bahasa Malayo known as Belacan Yam Leaf is hereby featured.

Belacan Yam Leaf (Sweet Potato Leaf) – Signature Malaysian dish called kangkung belacan or stir-fried water spinach/morning glory with shrimp paste.

The key ingredient is none other than belacan, the Malaysian variety of shrimp paste. (Shrimp paste is an essential flavoring medium in Southeast Asian cooking.)

1 box yam leaf, approximately 0.8 lb (0.3kg)
1 tablespoon belacan/shrimp paste
2 red bird’s eye chilies or 1 regular red chili, remove seeds and thinly cut
3 tablespoons cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon roasted chili paste
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
3 dashes fish sauce

1 handful dried chilies
2 tablespoons cooking oil


  1. Grind the dried chilies and cooking oil in a blender.
  2. Add a little water while blending.
  3. Heat the wok, pour some cooking oil and stir-fry the chili paste for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Soak the dried shrimp in warm water for 10 minutes, then coarsely pound them using mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  5. Cut the stems of the yam leaf. Keep only the tender part of the stems.
  6. Rinse with cold water and then set aside.
  7. Fire up the wok to HIGH heat and add the cooking oil. Wait till smoke comes out from the wok then add in the chopped garlic.
  8. Do a quick stir, add in the belacan, dried shrimp, and roasted chili paste and continue stirring.
  9. As soon as you smell the pungent aroma of belacan, toss in the yam leaf. Stir continuously until the leaves started to wilt.
  10. Add in a few dashes of fish sauce, continue stirring (make sure the color of the vegetable remains green).
  11. Dish up and serve hot.



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