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Monday, July 9, 2012

Cabbage Stir Fry

This is one of the most basic recipes.  This is a recipe that you can use with almost any vegetable to give it an Indian touch. It has minimal ingredients and spices and is a healthy and delicious recipe.  The tempered seasoning gives it the wonderful taste. You can shred the cabbage or dice it into smaller pieces and then use it.  Whenever I make this recipe, it always reminds me of a friend who used to sit patiently for a long time and cut the cabbage into really tiny pieces. I never had the patience to do that and used to generally shred the cabbage into longer strips. This time around, when I started cutting the cabbage, I remembered her and decided to cut it into smaller pieces.  I will probably revert back to longer strips the next time around just to save some time, but any kind of variety is always good.

1 tbsp oil
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp cumin seeds
a ping of asafoetida/hing
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 green chillies, slit lengthwise, to taste
1 onion, sliced or diced (cut to match the cabbage)
1/2 cabbage, shredded into strips or diced
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

In a large pan, large enough to hold all the cabbage, heat the oil. To this add the mustard and cumin seeds. Once they start to crackle, add the hing and green chillies. Then add the onions and cook till the onions are soft and transluscent, add the turmeric and mix well. Then add the cabbage and mix well to coat the cabbage with the seasoning and then cover the pan with a lid and let the cabbage cook on low heat. Stir it occasionally and let it cook covered till it is has softened and looks completely cooked. Then remove the cover and add the salt and mix. At this stage, you can also add the sugar, if you want. Cook for a minute or two more. Serve hot with chapati/roti or as a side.

Sometimes you forget to stir the cabbage and it sticks to the base of the pan and it may turn a light brown shade. As long as it has not burnt and totally become black, if you mix the cabbage well and then continue to let it cook completely, the cabbage will get a nice smoky, caramelized taste.
I try to add the turmeric after adding one ingredient to the oil (like onion), so that it doesn't burn. However, if I do add turmeric directly to the oil, I add the vegetable that I am cooking immediately, to prevent the turmeric from burning. It takes just a few seconds for it to burn completely in the hot oil, so be careful.
Also, do not add water to this recipe. Even if you are tempted to add water to the cabbage thinking how can I cook it covered for so long, without water, what if it burns, resist the temptation. Cabbage contains a lot of water and if you add more, it will spoil the taste and texture of the cabbage. Just make sure to cook it on low heat, and keep an eye on it and stir often so that it doesn't burn.


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