The Go Wild Go West blog

Foraging: Sticky Willy

Cleavers Curry

OK, foraging Sticky Willy may not be what you might immediately think of as a ‘Sunday roast’ alternative – but I came across a recipe this weekend for Cleavers Curry – Cleavers (or Goosegrass) being the ‘real’ name for that really annoying plant that grows everywhere and the kids love sticking on your back without you realising.

Well, who knew you can actually eat it!? Revenge on the children was sweet when I got them to pick it all off my jumper and pluck the young leaves ready for Sunday dinner.

The lunch guests were extremely dubious as I collected all the ingredients together, and a bit of chicken in the recipe probably would have been welcome – but, I have to say, it was delicious, cheap, quick and easy…….. and just to have the excuse to send the children off foraging whilst I sat in the sun by the river picking off sticky willy leaves – it was worth every roast-potato-free mouthful!

foraging for sticky willy

Tips for foraging Sticky Willy

  1. Forage in Spring and Summer when the plants are young
  2. You can use the stems, leaves, and seeds but the best bits are the fresh, young leaves
  3. Sticky Willy is commonly found along hedgerows, fields, and in gardens.
  4. Cleavers is actually part of the coffee family roast the seeds once they’re fully hardened to make a cleavers coffee!
  5. You can even make juice! Check out this BBC article on foraging
foragers curry: sticky willy
Cleaver’s Curry

Sticky Willy Curry:

2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
fresh ginger, chopped
3 tsp fresh coriander, cumin powder, and chilli powder
2 carrots
2 tomatoes
3 handfuls fresh cleavers’ leaves
250ml water
100g creamed coconut


  • Fry the onions in the oil over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and turn the heat up to medium. Fry for a further 2 minutes
  • Stir in the ginger and all the spices, stirring continuously
  • Chop and add the carrots, tomatoes, and cleavers leaves
  • Add the water and the coconut milk and simmer for approx. 15 minutes until cooked.
  • Serve with rice

The seeds of sticky willy are also great to use as ammo in a bamboo pea-shooter!
For more forager’s recipes check out our wild garlic and nettle soup here.