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.
Excerpted with permission from The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey--From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond, copyright 2013 by Marvin Gapultos. Published by Tuttle Publishing, a division of Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1–2 Thai chili peppers, split in half lengthwise with stems intact
- 1 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste (see note below)
- 1 pound (500 g) kale, washed, center ribs and stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) Shrimp Stock, or water
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) coconut milk
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat a large wok or sauté pan over high heat until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Swirl the oil into the pan, and then add the onion and stir-fry until the pieces wilt and begin to lightly brown, 2–3 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and shrimp paste to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Toss the kale into the pan, and then cook and stir until the kale cooks down and wilts, 1–2 minutes.
Pour the Shrimp Stock and coconut milk into the pan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the kale is tender, 10–15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve with steamed white rice.
Note: You can omit the shrimp paste and instead stir in 1 tablespoon of ﬁsh sauce when adding the coconut milk and water. Otherwise, you can season with additional salt.