Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chicken and Collard Greens Simmered in Spiced Coconut Milk

This is a great way to spice up chicken thighs, but any cut of chicken should work. Just adjust the cook time accordingly. I love using bone-in thighs because you don't have to trim them as you would boneless thighs, and they are moist and flavorful. This is a one-pot meal, although it does require a bit of prep to make the ginger, garlic, and onion pastes. If you can find jarred pastes, that will save time. But I haven't been able to find any that don't contain unwanted additives. I prepared everything the day before so that at dinner time, it took me about 10 minutes to get things simmering and the whole meal was done in an hour. Once the thighs are cooking, all you have to do is add the collards and you've got a fantastic meal. If you are short on time, prep in advance or save this one for the weekend. The aroma is yummy and the taste is even better. If you have extra sauce, save it to use over rotisserie chicken and veggies for a quick lunch or dinner.

Adapted from

Serves 4.

1/2 cup roasted cashews
2 Tbsp coconut oil
6 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 Tbsp ginger paste
2 Tbsp garlic paste
2 Tbsp onion paste
1 Anaheim chili pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
2 tsp garam masala
pinch of saffron threads
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups full-fat coconut milk
1 bunch collard greens (about 3/4 pound), stems removed, leaves cut into ribbons

  1. In a mini food processor or magic bullet, grind the cashews. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, and peppercorns and cook until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the ginger paste and garlic paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  3. Add the onion paste, green chile, and cashews and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.
  5. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, garam masala, and saffron. Cover and cook, stirring occassionally, until the chicken turns white, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut milk, spoon braising liquid over the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 50 minutes.
  7. About 15 minutes before chicken is done, add collard greens to the top of the chicken mixture. Let steam for the remainder of the cook time.
  8. Stir collard greens into coconut broth. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. To serve, transfer chicken thighs into shallow bowls and spoon collards and broth around the sides and top. If you come across any of the whole spices, remove them or just push them off to the side.


  1. Even omitting the cashews, substituting ground cardamom for the pods, using a bag of mixed greens instead of collards and doing the whole thing in my slow cooker, this was fabulous! I had my daughter add the greens to the slow cooker about an hour and a half before I got home. My house smelled divine. Great recipe adaptation. Thanks, Pam!

    1. Hi, Valerie! Sounds like you made some great modifications. I like the idea of doing this in the slow cooker. I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know!