Kale Greens in Coconut Milk from 'The Adobo Road Cookbook'

Marvin Gapultos

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.

Recipe Details

Kale Greens in Coconut Milk from 'The Adobo Road Cookbook'

Active 30 mins
Total 45 mins
Serves 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

  • 1 to 2 Thai chile peppers, split in half lengthwise with stems intact

  • 1 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste (see note)

  • 1 pound (500g) kale, washed, center ribs and stems removed, leaves roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) Shrimp Stock, or water

  • 1 1/2 cups (375mlcoconut milk

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. 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.

  2. Add the garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and shrimp paste to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Toss the kale into the pan, and then cook and stir until the kale cooks down and wilts, 1–2 minutes.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
199 Calories
18g Fat
9g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 199
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 569mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 34mg 169%
Calcium 80mg 6%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 367mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)