Stir-fried Cabbage, Bengal Gram and Coconut

Cabbage might seem like an uninteresting vegetable but it is inexpensive, widely available and especially when in season, really delicious. This is a lovely, light stir-fry with crisp tender cabbage enlivened with the spices and flavours of South India. It is a wonderful accompaniment to a curry or just as it is as a warm salad. If you don’t have time to cook the lentils, leave them out the dish will still be fantastic, it just wouldn’t be as nutritionally balanced. I buy a packet of frozen coconut when I go to an Indian or oriental shop and then keep it in the freezer for when I need it. If you don’t have any, use the desiccated coconut instead.

Serves 2

  • 25g Bengal gram, washed well and soaked if you have time
  • 1 tbs. vegetable oil¼ medium white cabbage head, finely shredded
  • 1/3 tsp. mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp. Nigella seeds
  • 1-3 dried red chillies, whole
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1½ tsp. chopped ginger
  • Salt to taste
  • ¾ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 50g fresh grated coconut, you can also use 3-4 tbs. desiccated coconut
  • 40g roasted peanuts, halved or roughly chopped
  • 1½ tsp. lemon juice or to taste

Cook the lentils by boiling them in plenty of boiling, lightly salted water until just soft, around 35-45 minutes. Drain and reserve.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the mustard and Nigella seeds and once the popping dies down add the red chillies, ginger and curry leaves, cook for a further 10 seconds. Add the cabbage, turmeric and salt and stir fry for 5-6 minutes or until the cabbage is crisp tender.

Stir in the peanuts, lentils, coconut and a little lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning and lemon juice to taste and serve.


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