There is little food waste in the homes of ordinary people in India and Sir Lanka – even the most ordinary ingredient can be turned easily into something extraordinary. Cabbage, for example, is not one of Winter’s favourite vegetables, but when fried with a few spices it is transformed into something to die for. Check out our Cabbage Thoran and this one too.
This Sri Lankan dish is very similar to a Thoran or Poriyal, with Pandanus added. It is such a common dish (and so easy to prepare) and not surprisingly there are hundreds of variations of the dish – every family will have their own way of making it. Flavoured with onion, mustard seed, fenugreek, chillies, pandan and coconut oil, it is a very easy and tasty dish.
This recipe was given to us – we are always being sent recipes and our friends and family give us ones that they want us to make. We often don’t have the source, so if you know, fill us in so we can include the details.
Sri Lankan Stir Fried Cabbage | Gowa Mallum
1 Tblspn ghee or coconut oil
0.5 onion, thinly sliced
2 Indian dried red chillies
10 cm piece pandanus (available from Asian and some Indian shops)
1 tspn black mustard seeds
0.5 tspn fenugreek seeds
600g cabbage, finely shredded
1 tspn turmeric powder
sea salt to taste
Heat the ghee or oil in a kadhai over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Then add the fenugreek, pandanus and dried chillies and saute for a few moments. Add the onions and turmeric, mix well and saute until the onions are translucent and golden.
Add the cabbage and mix to combine. Over medium-high heat, saute for 4 – 5 minutes or until the cabbage is softening.
Add 2 tablespoons water, mix, cover and cook for 1 – 3 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender but not too soft. Season with salt if needed (I don’t use it in this recipe) and mix well.
Serve and enjoy.
recipe notes and alternatives
Grated coconut can be added to the cabbage. Stir it through just before the cabbage is fully cooked.
Leftovers can be stirred into hot cooked rice for a special lunch dish. I add a splash of vinegar or squeeze of lemon or lime juice.