Vij’s is an Indian restaurant in Vancouver. Wonderful food, and they have a cookbook!
The grilling softens the texture of the kale without overcooking it or removing its essential structure — or the mild bitterness of the leaves — while the marinade of coconut milk, cayenne, salt and lemon juice balances out the flavors, caramelizing in the heat.
Made over a charcoal fire or even in a wickedly hot pan, it becomes a dish of uncommon flavor, the sort of thing you could eat on its own, with only a mound of basmati rice for contrast.
You are aiming for the consistency of soft centres and crispy edges.
1 lb kale with stems
3 cups coconut milk
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
Wash kale thoroughly and cut off the stalks. Cut kale leaves about 6″ long.
In a pot, melt coconut milk on low heat until thoroughly mixed and just lukewarm. Transfer to a stainless steel bowl and add cayenne, paprika and lemon juice. Dunk kale leaves individually and put in another bowl.
Cover the bowl of kale leaves with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Preheat a barbeque or stovetop cast iron grill to high heat. Remove the kale from the refrigerator. Using metal tongs, place kale leaves in a single layer on the grill. Cook one side for 30 seconds (smaller leaves) to 45 seconds (larger leaves). Turn leaves over and grill for another 30 to 45 seconds, or until they have visibly softened.