There’s something about chef Mary San Pablo, and that something is that she cooks some exceptionally fine food of Filipino origin, with an English lilt. She runs Luto, a pop-up but soon-to-be-permanent restaurant in east London, and it was there that I first ate laing, a dish of coconut milk-braised greens that’s traditionally made with taro leaves. Mary used kale, which she cooked to silky, flavourful submission (not words usually reserved for kale) and served over rice. I wrote this recipe because I had to eat it again before Mary’s restaurant opens, and really as a note to say, when it does open, go.
Miso and coconut winter greens
I use Clearspring brown rice miso, but any dark miso will do. Misos vary in potency and saltiness, with the darker ones being much more potent than the lighter-coloured, creamier and sweeter ones.
Prep 20 min
Cook 40 min
3 tbsp rapeseed oil – I like Mr Organic
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
5cm x 5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 red bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
250g leeks (about 2), trimmed and finely sliced
400g kale or cavolo nero, ribs removed and saved for a stock or soup, leaves shredded
400g savoy cabbage, cored and finely shredded
250g frozen peas, defrosted
2½ tbsp dark brown miso
2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
Jasmine rice, to serve
Put a large, deep-sided pot on the stove over a medium heat, add three tablespoons of oil and, once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes, until soft and browning. Add the garlic, chillies and ginger, cook, stirring often, for three minutes, then add the leeks and cook for another five minutes.
Stir in the chopped kale – you may need to add it in batches, to allow the leaves to wilt a little – then cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Add the savoy cabbage and cook for five minutes more, until the cabbage leaves are soft and bright green in colour.
Add the miso, vinegar, salt and soy to the pot, stir to mix in, then pour in the coconut milk. Fill the empty tin with water, add this to the pot, too, and bring everything to a boil. Pop in the peas, cook for a final three or four minutes, just to heat through, then take off the heat and serve hot over some freshly boiled rice.