Author Notes: I am always looking for fun variations to the foods I know so well from growing up southern. I was particularly excited when I discovered Gulai Sayur, an Indonesian curry starring my beloved collard greens. You trade out the "pot-likker" for a delicious "coconut broth", creating a flavor that is familiar, yet a far cry from Atlanta and our soul food. I serve mine over some old-school hoecakes, spiced up to suit the hybrid flavors.
It's worth pointing out that you can make your own curry paste, self-rising flour (Food52 has a great article on this one), broth, cajun spice blend, sriracha, baking powder...maybe even your own coconut milk, if you are one of the lucky ones with a Vitamix. I make what I can from scratch because it is cost effective as well as WAY FUN and an excuse to never leave the kitchen. The additional bonus with this dish (for me, at least) is that it is vegetarian/vegan friendly! But there is nothing stopping you from adding a ham hock or a little fish sauce, if that's your style. —Leigh Amelia
Makes a mess o' greens
Slightly Southern Gulai Sayu, discovered on and adapted from Saveur
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon curry paste
- 1 3 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons tamari sauce (or Worcestershire if you prefer)
- salt and pepper, to taste, plus more for finishing
- 14 ounces (or 1 can of) coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 bunches collard greens, stemmed and cut into a thick chiffonade
- 8 scallions, sliced
- Louisiana hot sauce and sriracha, to taste
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onions and shallots. Cook til translucent, about five to seven minutes.
- Add curry paste and ginger. Stir fry til fragrant, less than a minute.
- Add sugar, salt, pepper, tamari, coconut milk, and broth. Bring to a simmer, adjusting heat as necessary.
- Dump in those collards! Coat them in the curry broth. Cook about 45 minutes over medium, stirring occasionally. Make those hoecakes while you wait!
- When the greens are soft, season with more salt and pepper. Serve steaming over your hoecakes, topped with the sliced scallions. Finish with lots of vinegary southern hot sauce and sriracha.
Thai Chili Hoecakes, a traditional recipe re-worked
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for finishing
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon oil, your preferred type for frying
- 1 or 2 pat(s) of butter, depending on skillet size and love of butter
- 3 - 4 red Thai chilis, minced (de-seeded or not, depending on your heat preference)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl or one of those extra-large measuring cups. Something with a pour spout will be helpful here.
- Whisk wet ingredients in a separate bowl until emulsified. Just use a fork.
- Beat in the eggs til combined.
- Stir in those chilis.
- Heat your oil and butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet.
- Cut wet ingredients into dry ingredients (I'm serious, all we need here is a fork).
- You can check the heat of the skillet by flicking a bit of batter into it, and when the batter sizzles you are good to go. Once it's sizzling, drop or pour about two tablespoons of batter into the heat. This is no time to be a stickler - different sizes and shapes are how it works best. Work in batches, adding about a teaspoon more both oil and butter each new batch. It should take about 3 minutes per side to cook these mini savory pancakes, but we are going for a bit on the "done" end to complement the greens. Try it a few times and see what you prefer. Any imperfects can wind up in your breakfast tomorrow morning.
- Drain the cakes on brown paper bags and sprinkle them with salt and chopped cilantro while they wait.
- Plate and pour on those collards!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dark, Leafy Greens