Friday, June 18, 2010

Five-Minute Indian-Style Cabbage

In the part of my life where I worked for an insurance company, one of my co-workers was an Indian women who brought in a smelly, yellow-tinted cabbage dish for lunch. At the time, I was repulsed by it, which was due, in part, to my idea that I didn't like cabbage. I don't know what I thought coleslaw was made out of. When two very large heads of cabbage arrived in my CSA box, I couldn't get that cabbage that my Indian co-worker used to bring out of my head.

This dish is very, very fast and very customizable. Next time, I want to throw a little ginger in and play with the spices a bit. You will want to have everything prepared and on hand before you start because once those mustard seeds start popping out of the oil and flying all over your kitchen, you're going to need to throw the rest of the ingredients in.

Five-Minute Indian-Style Cabbage


1/2 head green cabbage, cored and sliced thin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter), or mustard oil, or more to taste
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
optional: garlic, ginger, unsweetened shredded coconut, fresh chilis or dried chili flakes, garam masala
optional garnish: cilantro, lemon juice

Heat a large skillet or wok over a medium-high flame. Add the oil, wait 10 seconds, and immediately add the mustard seeds.
As soon as they start to pop, add the rest of the spices and any optional ingredients and stir-fry for 10 more seconds. Move quickly here so you infuse the flavor in the oil but don't burn them.
Add the cabbage and salt, and stir-fry until crisp-tender or tender, your preference. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Garnish with cilantro and/or lemon juice.