Like many of us food writers, I eat close to a ton of kale every week. Not only is it still hip—kale keeps popping up everywhere from the Times to your best friend's food blog—but the green's stellar nutritional profile appears (to me at least) to at least begin to counteract the onslaught of fried foods and cakes that get thrown at my mouth on a daily basis. Yet kale salads and sauteed greens with chile flakes only go so far to satisfy my curious cravings, so I'm always looking for a new way to get my fix. Marvin Gapultos's recipe for Kale Greens in Coconut Milk from his new cookbook, The Adobo Road, is just the ticket. The greens are given a long-ish simmer in a potent mixture of thick coconut milk, shrimp paste, shrimp stock, and Thai chiles, emerging supple and succulent.
He cheekily dubs it lying laing: traditional laing uses dried taro leaves instead of kale; using the more popular green makes the recipe modern and easier-to-source.
Why I picked this recipe: Yes, I am a kale addict. And yes, I love anything with coconut milk. This here was a no-brainer.
What worked: This easy twist on my weekly braised kale dish was rich, comforting, and just funky enough to be distinctive.
What didn't: Even with two Thai chlies, I didn't find the dish particularly spicy (probably because of all the coconut milk). I wouldn't have minded another chile or two tossed in there.
Suggested tweaks: You could certainly use this technique to cook any hearty green. Sharp mustard greens would be particularly good cooked this way, as would collards.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.