Javanese Stuffed Taro Leaves
Buntil is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in Indonesian cuisine and is known as a Javanese dish. Traditionally this buntil uses cassava, papaya or taro leaves. All those leaves are edible and most often are made for salad, stir fry, and curry base dishes in Indonesian cooking. Any strong and hearty greens will do for a buntil. In Winnipeg, you can find taro leaves and sometimes papaya leaves for purchase at Lucky supermarket. For those who live in places that don’t have any access to the leaves that I mentioned, you can always substitute for collard greens.

As other Javanaese recipes, buntil is enhanced by kencur (or kaempferia galanga or sand ginger or cekur). I love dishes with kencur and if you live in Winnipeg you can find it at Sun Wah supermarket in dried forms. The recipe was adapted from an Indonesian women magazine. I don’t know if this magazine is still published. In this recipe, I didn’t add petai cina as I didn’t have access to buy it. Instead I doubled the amount of anchovies.

Buntil Daun Talas 
Java Stuffed Taro Leaves

10 -12 taro leaves
200 grams (7 oz) shredded frozen coconut, thawed
50 grams (1.8 oz) tiny silver anchovies
50 grams (1.8 oz) petai cina (Leucaena leucocephala)
10-12 Thai red chilies (original recipe: bird eyes chilies)

Spices for a paste:
7 shallots for a smaller size or 4 shallots for a larger size
3 cloves garlic
3 Thai red chilies, discard the seed if you want to reduce the heat
3-centimeters (1.2-inches) long kencur (kaempferia galanga) or 3 teaspoons kencur powder
1-centimeter (0.4-inch) long ginger, scrapped
1-centimeter (0.4-inch) long galangal, peeled
2 teaspoons toasted coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon toasted cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Spices for the sauce:
4 Thai red chilies, discard the seed if you want to reduce the heat
6 shallots for a smaller size or 3 shallots for a larger size
2 cloves garlic
3-centimeters long kencur (kaempferia galanga) or 3 teaspoons kencur powder
6 kaffir lime leaves, discard the midrib of 3 leaves
2 salam (Indonesian bay) leaves
3 candlenuts
200 milliliter creamed coconut and mix with 300 milliliter water
1/2 teaspoon salt


  • In a bowl, combine shredded coconut, anchovies, spices paste, petai cina (if you use this) and whole chilies.  Mix well.
  • Wash and trim the stems off th etaro  leaves.  Sun-dry or blanch them for easier way to roll.  Pat the leaves dry and place them on paper towels with the shiny side down.  Place 1 tablespoon of the spiced coconut mixture in the middle of each leaf.  Fold the stem end of each leaf over to cover the filling, and then roll up the sides carefully (to avoid tearing the leaf) until a small compact cylinder is formed.
  • Wrap in banana leaves for 1 hour steaming process or until they’re cooked.   If banana leaves are unavailable, just use aluminium foil.
  • Sauce: process  chilies, shallots,  garlic, kencur (kaempferia galanga), candlenuts, 3 kaffir lime leaves and salt until smooth.  In a saucepan heat up the oil at medium-high, stir fry sauce mixture, 3 whole kaffir lime leaves and salam leaves until fragrant.  Add coconut milk and whole chilies.  Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
  • Place the cooked stuffed taro leaves on a dish and pour the sauce over.


    • Cassava leaves and papaya leaves are good too. However, they are not often to be sold in Winnipeg. The reason why I chose taro leaves.

  1. This is such an intriguing dish. We have our own kind of stuffed Taro leaves in India, but this is so very different and full of flavor and texture. wld love to try some.


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