Turi Leaves & Sweet Potato in Coconut Milk Broth


The Recipe

Name of the core ingredient: Turi, Geti
Botanical name: Sesbania grandiflora
Other name in English: Vegetable Hummingbird

The turi tree is a fast-growing slender tree, reaching a height of 5-10m. It has a life span of about 20 years. It has sparse branches, with long pinnate leaves, each holding about 35-60 leaflets. This tree is native to tropical Asia, but naturalised in the American tropics. It grows in the moist tropics with very short, dry seasons. It can be found mainly in India, Sri Lanka and parts of Australia where it is grown on a plantation scale for food, forage and green manure, while in Malaysia, it is grown in backyard gardens, particularly in Indian homes.


Traditional Usage:

It is indigenous from the South East Asia (Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei), to Northern Australia, and is also cultivated in many parts of India and Sri Lanka. It has many traditional uses, and many health benefits. Among them are to reduce heat loss (antipyretic), with uses as laxative, astringent, vomiting stimulant, and tonic. The leaves are utilitarian and are used to dilute blood clots, relieve pain, as a laxative and a diuretic.


Health Benefits:

Childbirth: Usually, the body temperature of the mother will rise after childbirth. Therefore, these leaves are used to bring the temperature down and cool down the body. About a large handful of leaves are cleaned thoroughly, and then mashed into a paste. The paste is then boiled with about 1/3 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Once cooled, the concoction is then strained and drank.


Dysentery and bloody diarrhoea: The turi blossoms are used here to counter this illness. A handful of flowers are stripped to their inner red trunks. They are then boiled with 2 cups of water, to reduce until the water is left about a cup. Cool and strain. This potion is to be drink twice a day.


Vaginal discharge: Women suffering from this problem is encouraged to drink a concoction comprising of the turi leaves and turmeric, all milled till fine and then boiled.


Swollen finger: If the finger is swollen due to an injury, the turi leaves are used to calm the inflammation. A handful of leaves are washed, and then mashed smooth into a little paste, added with a bit of water. The paste is then dabbed onto the injured area, and then covered with a cloth. This will be done 3 times a day until the swelling is reduced. This can also be done with an injured fingernail, where the blood has clot on the nail bed, under the nail.


Headache, with running nose: As before, the turi leaves and flowers are used to alleviate this. A handful of the plant is washed clean and mashed into a fine paste. It is then boiled with ½ cup of water and a pinch of salt. The tea is then strained and drank twice a day to help calm the headache and to stop the flu.


Sore Throat: A handful of the turi leaves are simmered in 3 cups of water. Once cooled, the tea is strained, and then used to gargle. This can be done four times a day to sooth the throat.



Main Ingredients:

200 grams Turi Leaves
350 grams Orange Sweet
200 grams Potatoes
300 grams Grated Coconut
1 stalk Lemon Grass
Hot water
Salt to taste


Ground Ingredients:

50 grams Shallots Garlic
15 grams Fresh Turmeric
25 grams Dried Prawns
20 grams Dried Anchovies
40 grams Fresh Red Chili


Time Needed: 45 minutes

  1. Presoak the dried shrimp and anchovies to rehydrate
  2. Drain excess water from shrimp and anchovies and blend or pound with the rest of the ground ingredients into a smooth paste
  3. Blend the grated coconut and hot water and press through a sieve to extract the coconut milk
  4. In a pot, simmer the milk, ground ingredients and crushed lemongrass
  5. Add in the potatoes and cover with a lid, simmer gently stirring occasionally until potatoes are just cooked
  6. Add the turi leaves and a little salt to taste
  7. Stir to evenly cooked the leaves
  8. Serve immediately while dish is still hot as accompaniment to white rice.



  1. Lightly smash the lemongrass to release oil for flavours and aroma.
  2. Potatoes are cut in chunks or wedges.

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