Lola’s Kamote Salad – LP Anniversary

For the first anniversary edition of Lasang Pinoy, hosted by stef of stefoodie.net and Noodles & Rice, the theme is to define what being Pinoy is all about. I think this may be the hardest topic of all. It is like having to choose which of your children is your favorite. You love them all, but they are all different and they all have something that makes them special, and you love them all for different reasons but you love them all the same, without one having more advantage over another.

Kamote Leaves (sweet potato plant)A recent post by Gigi about being Pinoy in California and the ensuing comments afterwards reminded me of this sometimes annoying and at the same time flattering habit of being asked, after someone finds out that you are Filipino, if you cook Pansit or Adobo or Lumpia. So do we assume that these three dishes represent us as a culture? It is probably best not to assume. Just as I would never assume that spaghetti or pizza represents Italy, or chow mein of China (ok, so I picked the worst examples, but you know what I mean). There is so much more depth and variety to Filipino cuisine which is why Lasang Pinoy was started in the first place; to show that there is so much more to our cooking beyond pansit, adobo and lumpia.

So I offer you my obligatory Adobo, Pansit, and Lumpia that I’ve posted previously. More versions of Adobo are coming – because the ways to adobo is long and ever expanding. πŸ˜€

My LolaFor this Anniversary theme, I offer my Lola’s Kamote Salad. It is one of the simplest dishes to make but not too many foreigners would know about it because it is rarely offered during parties. It is not the kind of dish that you would bring to a potluck or offer guests to a dinner party. Although I don’t know why not, I think that it would be a novel addition to any dinner party. I would certainly serve it. I think that it is not offered to visitors much, because it is considered “peasant” food and when we have company we try to show off a bit and offer something that is not considered “everyday” food. At least that is how my Lola would rationalize it.

I picked this dish not only because of its simplicity (at a time when I’m terribly busy with getting the girls back to school) and availability (I have all the ingredients handy from my garden), but also because everytime this is on the dinner table we remember our Lola who always made this for us as it is also her favorite dish. Lola to us embodies our Pinoyness. She is the string that connects us to our heritage. She is the one who keeps us grounded to our roots.

Here is my Lola’s Kamote Salad:
washed and trimmed kamote topsFirst wash and trim the sweet potato greens. When picking the leaves from the sweet potato plants, I usually cut about a foot from the top (the most tender leaf) of the plant. Bring them in to wash, then trim them further. I use just the tender stalk from the top, snapping it just at the point where it breaks with a snap. The rest of the leaves attached to the remaining hard stem are then pinched off and the stem discarded or if you have a recycling fool for a husband, they can be put in the compost or stuck back in the ground where they will generate more greens for you but probably not potatoes. After you have all your green leaves and tops washed, blanch them in boiling water for about two to three minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.

In the meantime, prepare:
– chop up some tomatoes and onions
– finely mince fresh ginger (about a tablespoon)
– juice 1 lemon or lime (or according to your taste and size of lemon/lime)
– Patis (fish sauce) or bagoong (fermented fish paste)

Mix all the ingredients above, adjust seasoning as needed and mix with the kamote greens. Serve.

This is my preferred vegetable (when available) whenever we have anything fried be it fish or meat.

Lola's Kamote Salad
If you have a non-fish eater like my Clone, you can also dress your kamote greens even simpler with just tomatoes, salt, and a spritz of lime juice. This is her salad:

The Clone's Kamote Salad
Thanks again to Stef for hosting this anniversary round of Lasang Pinoy. This year has been a fun one learning and spreading the word about our beloved Filipino Cuisine. I look forward to many more LP editions!

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22 thoughts on “Lola’s Kamote Salad – LP Anniversary

  1. JMom

    Hi Stef,she really is fabulous. The last of the maria claras πŸ™‚ I notice how much I quote her when it comes to food. She has been a great influence.

    Hi Mike, yeah, my lola is the same way too. Her diet has always been mainly vegetables with very little meat. I swear it is what has kept her healthy in her old age. She is 85 and going strong and still looking lovely if I do say so myself πŸ˜€

    Reply
  2. mike

    JMom, this is definitely my mother’s favourite! She’d settle for this if you gave her a choice between a meat dish and kamote salad!

    Happy 1st LP anniversary!

    Reply
  3. stefoodie

    JMom, your lola sounds like such a fabulous lady. And this dish, as well as our many simple vegetable dishes, speaks “Pinoy” to me as well. My mom always says that in her day, they didn’t eat a lot of meat. Fish and veggie dishes such as this one was the everyday fare — and they’re the healthier for it!

    Thanks again for joining us for LP!!!

    Reply
  4. JMom

    Hi ces, keep scouting your oriental stores. Some jamaican and african stores carry them too. I just happened to get lucky this year and they sprouted in our garden from old sweet potatoes that we threw in the compost.

    Hi Tin! I’ve been missing my lola too, especially since I didn’t get to see her this summer and have to wait until christmas to see her again. Hope you’re having fun on your vacation! πŸ™‚

    Hi Lumpia, I know what you mean. Every time I fix this I start yearning for some fried tilapia!

    Hi Pookah, the taste is a lot milder but much greener than collards or turnips. The texture is also softer. It doesn’t take much to cook it, just a mild blanch.

    Hi Mita, my lola always uses bagoong and calamansi with this and hers always taste better than mine no matter how hard I try to duplicate her proportions. Yung sukang iloko and bagoong, we use for dipping eggplants naman. yumm! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  5. Pookah

    JMom,

    I grew up with sweet potatoes and greens (collards, turnips, kale and mustard) but never knew you could eat the greens of sweet potatoes. It looks great. How does the taste compare to the other greens?

    P@swank one town over

    Reply
  6. Tin

    JMom,

    Musta na? Sarap naman nyan – may all time favorite when i was a kid….thanks for sharing your memories with your lola…na-missed ko tuloy ng husto ang lola ko kung saan ako lumaki…have a great weekend!

    Hugs,
    Tin

    Reply
  7. CES

    now this is what i truly crave for! can i find it here in NY? i haven’t seen one so far…i just said to hubby, i wasn’t even able to have this when we went back home!

    Reply
  8. JMom

    Hi Chas, yep, and you can adobo just about anything πŸ™‚

    Hi Luchie, oh yeah, my lola uses bagoong all the time. It’s just hard to get good bagoong around here sometimes. My lola used to talk about good bagoong and bad ones, and I’m just beginning to believe there really is a difference πŸ™‚

    Reply
  9. charles ravndal

    My lola prepares this as well and actually I like it. It is actually true that adobo has lots of versions. I think I saw the Spanish adobo in BBC

    Reply
  10. JMom

    Hi mae, my lola has always said it’s good for you too, and so I always tell my girls the same thing. I really should find out what about it is good for you, huh? πŸ™‚ Oh that’s too bad there are no sweet potato growers there. Here, there’s plenty of sweet potatoes, but they don’t know the talbos is edible! Lucky for us πŸ˜€

    Hi Angelika! Glad you came by πŸ™‚

    Reply
  11. Mae

    I remember this ‘talbos ng kamote’ when i was a kid. I still remember the taste of it served as a salad with bagoong like you did here. I was always told ‘it’s good for you’. I actually like it.

    Shame there’s no sweet potato growers here only ‘Jersey potatoes’. πŸ™‚

    Lovely post JMom!

    Reply
  12. JMom

    Hi Lani, Happy Anniversary to us all! I can’t believe it’s been 1 year already.

    Hi Ladybug, isn’t it strange how we associate so much food with the person who made them for us? That’s how I feel about my lola.

    Hi Iska, do they eat talbos ng kamote in Beijing? Kasi dito sa NC hindi nila alam yun until dumating ang mga pinoy and Africans πŸ™‚

    Hi Noemi, definitely Ilokano and very Pinoy.

    Reply
  13. iska

    hi jeanette! it’s been a long time since i had talbos ng kamote. that’s also how mom prepares the salad… really great w/ bagoong!
    happy 1st anniv to LP!

    Reply
  14. ladybug

    Wow! Looks yummy! At pinoy na pinoy talaga. I remember my MIL used to make it for us. She’s now in the U.S. and I miss her so much.

    Reply
  15. Lani

    I always make camote salad using patis (fish sauce) and calamansi. Thank you for sharing this one, now I have another way of preparing camote tops.

    Happy Anniversary, JMOM!~~

    Reply

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