The key step in making this Indonesian dish is to create a base of flavors by gently sweating the paste of chiles, turmeric, ginger, and garlic before stewing the collard greens in coconut milk.
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 7 shallots, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 red or green Thai chiles, minced
- 1 (3″) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 large fresh stalks lemongrass
- 3 tbsp. peanut oil
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 (14-oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 lb. collard greens, stemmed and cut crosswise into 1/2″-wide strips
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Combine turmeric, shallots, garlic, chiles, and ginger in a small food processor and purée, adding up to 4 tbsp. water, to form a smooth paste; set aside. Trim tip and root ends of lemongrass stalks and remove tough outer layer. Using a meat mallet, smash lemongrass to ﬂatten and tie into a knot.
- Heat oil in a 6-qt. pot over medium-low heat; add reserved paste and lemongrass; cook, stirring often, until very fragrant, 10–12 minutes. Add sugar, salt, and coconut milk; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add collards; cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 40 minutes. Remove lemongrass; season with salt and pepper and serve warm.