African Spiced Collard Greens (Sukuma Wiki)

Updated: Mar 27

This dish is likely the inspiration behind the famous braised collards that the deep south has become famous for. As the African population grew in the settling of Southern Louisiana, they brought the flavors and cooking techniques of their home with them. Sukuma Wiki literally translates to “push the week” or “stretch the week.” It’s a vegetable that is very affordable and available all year long.

Sukuma Wiki (African Sauteed Collard Greens) 6 Servings

What You Will Need:

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

8 oz Ground Pork (beef, chicken, or turkey are all good substitutes)

3 Cloves Garlic, Minced

½ Inch Piece Fresh Ginger, Minced

½ tsp Black Pepper

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

½ tsp Ground Fennel Seed

½ tsp Turmeric

1 Pod Green Cardamom, Crushed (optional)

Dash of Cinnamon

1 Medium Yellow Onion, Small Dice

1 Jalapeno, Minced, Seeds Removed

1 lb Small Collard Green Leaves (mustard green or kale are good substitutes)

1 Cup of Water or Chicken Stock

½ Lemon to Finish


  1. If you have a mortar and pestle, place the garlic and ginger in the mortar and smash them until they are well broken up. Add salt, pepper, fennel, turmeric, cardamom, and cinnamon to the mortar and make a paste with all ingredients. Set aside.

  2. Remove the stems from your collard greens. I prefer to fold the greens in half so that the stalk is on one side, and simply cut the stalk out. Now slice the greens into very thin strips and set aside.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot to the touch add the oil, shortly followed by the paste that you made in the mortar and pestle. Stir consistently and allow the paste to fry for 30-60 seconds until very aromatic. Do not allow it to burn.

  4. Add all of the ground pork, and stir vigorously so that the pan cools down slightly and the aromatics are mixed in with the meat. Cook for several minutes, stirring frequently. You can reduce the heat if it seems too hot. Cook until the pan juices have evaporated and the meat is starting to brown. Do not let the bottom of the pan burn.

  5. Add the onion and jalapeno and stir frequently, scraping the bottom of the pan to release all of the brown bits.

  6. Once the onions are soft and translucent, you can add the greens to the pan. Stir the greens around to mix well with other ingredients, then add 1 cup of water or chicken stock and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.

  7. Squeeze the lemon into the greens and remove from heat. Adjust seasoning to your liking and serve.


  1. This is a nice lighter version of traditional southern braised collard greens, and it’s much quicker to prepare. If you want to bulk it up and make it a meal, you can add some roasted sweet potato, roasted red bell peppers, or fresh diced tomatoes.

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