Coconut Milk Spring Greens

For some reason, I’ve been craving this recipe that I discovered in the Riverford cookbook and adapted to suit my tastes. The recipe is for Spring Greens, but collards, mustard greens, beet greens, wild spinach or any other dark green will work. This is a good recipe for people who don’t think they like greens. If they don’t like these, they crazy.


  • 1 bunch of spring greens (or collards, mustard greens, beet greens, or spinach) sliced thinly. You should have about 3-4 cups
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with a pinch of kosher/sea salt in a mortar and pestle (or on a cutting board with the side of a knife)
  • 2 dried chillies or 1 fresh chili, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups coconut milk (one standard sized can does the trick)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Make It:

  1. Blanch the greens in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain the greens and cool them by either dumping in ice water or running cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out any excess liquid and set aside. If you are using spinach, skip this step as spinach is delicate and cooks quickly.
  2. Heat the oils in a wok or large saute pan over low heat.
  3. Add the garlic and chillies and cook for a minute or two. Do not burn the garlic; just cook it enough so it smells lovely and starts to change color.
  4. Add the coconut milk and raise the temperature on the burner. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced by about half. Make sure to stir it often so the garlic and chillies don’t burn.
  5. Lower the temperature to medium heat and stir in the greens. Cook for about 10 minutes – less if you are using a less hardy green (like spinach). The tougher the green, the longer you want to cook it. You’ll know it is done when the greens are all thoroughly coated by the milk.
  6. Squeeze the lemon (or lime works nicely too) over the greens, taste and season with more salt if necessary.
  7. Serve immediately.
  8. Eat it.
  9. Send me a thank you for sharing this. I’m telling you. This is the business.

I can’t seem to find a photo of this, but next time I make it I’ll add it. Or, better yet, send me yours if you make it!



rpetralia October 10, 2012 Reply

Thank you for sharing this. You are the business. By the way, I still have collards growing — and a can or four of coconut milk in my insane pantry. Photo forthcoming.

peterspetralia October 10, 2012 Reply

Excellent. It is also good with a bit of smashed ginger added in, although I like it with just the garlic and chillies.

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