Chopped Cabbage with a Crumbly Chana Dal Sauce


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
For all its nutritional and economic value, cabbage is often one of those vegetables I buy at the market without the slightest idea what I'm going to do with it once it's home. But as with so many ingredients not native to the land, Indians have discovered some of the most delicious and inventive uses for cabbage I've found yet, such as the cabbage poriyal I discovered recently, and now this colourful and delicious cabbage prepared with Indian spices and a delightful and creative dry chana dal sauce adapted from Raghavan Iyer's indispensible 660 Curries.

Pre-soaked dals and chilies are ground to a paste and steamed to form a dry, crumbly and savoury sauce that is combined and re-moistened with the cooking cabbage in Iyer's version, but I've fried the paste for ease of use instead here. Either way, the soft crumbs of dal provide an enjoyable contrast in texture with the crunch of lightly cooked cabbage, as well as a wholesome and delicious added layer of flavour.

Chopped Cabbage with a Crumbly Chana Dal Sauce

Sauce:

1 cup chana dal or yellow split peas
6 dried whole red chilies
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1 tablespoon olive oil


Cabbage:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon urad dal
1/2 medium head green cabbage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
handful fresh or dried curry leaves
handful fresh coriander, chopped


Rinse the chana dal or yellow split peas under running water. Place in a bowl and cover with water. If the water turns cloudy, drain and repeat until the water remains relatively clear. Add the chilies and soak for 3 to 4 hours.

To prepare the sauce, drain the dal and chilies and process in a food processor until a thick gritty paste is formed. Stir in the salt and asafoetida. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few moments, then swirl around to coat the pan. Spread the dal paste over the pan and fry, turning over pieces of the paste occasionally, until the pieces are lightly browned on all sides and the dal is dry throughout — a toothpick inserted in the pieces should come out clean. Remove from heat and set aside.

Now heat a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few moments again, and swirl around to coat the pan as before. Toss in the black mustard seeds and fry until the seeds start spluttering, a few seconds. Add the urad dal and stir until golden brown, about a minute. Add the cabbage and stir to coat the pieces with oil. Stir in the salt, cayenne, turmeric and curry leaves, add 1 cup of water, and turn down the heat to medium-low.

Break the dal pieces into small crumbs and stir into the cabbage. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has absorbed the liquid, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in the coriander, and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
If you liked this recipe you may also enjoy:
Cabbage Poriyal
Chickpea and Cabbage Soup
Spicy Indian Cabbage and Green Peas

15 comments:

Ann said...

Wonderful clicks..I love cabbage..this is an innivative cabbage..would like to try

Arundathi said...

The sauce sounds really interesting. I'm sure it added some great crunch to the cabbage.

Ricki said...

I'm the same way with cabbage. . .have one sitting in the fridge now, waiting--for this! But I think my head would explode if I used all 6 chilies! ;)

bergamont said...

looks fantastic!
where do you normally find your curry leaves? thanks.

Bellini Valli said...

That reminds me I have most of a head of cabbage in the fridge waiting for its shining moment.

Lisa said...

I buy my curry leaves at an Indian grocery store. Sometimes I can find them fresh, but if not, I buy dried ones.

Daniel said...

We are big fans of cabbage too--it's healthy, really inexpensive and it's a really flexible vegetable that can be used in many, many ways.

Thanks for giving me another recipe to try!

Dan
Casual Kitchen

Cynthia said...

This is a great idea. I have taken note.

eatme_delicious said...

Yum this looks like a great way to eat cabbage!

Parita said...

Hi Lisa, I tried this recipe and just loved it, i have blogged about it on my blog, pls do visit and leave your comments and suggestions, thanks for the wonderful recipe :)

Anupama Krishnamurthy said...

Hi Lisa,
I don't know how i found your blog but i did. I made your cabbage-chana dal curry and it turned out super. Thanks for posting this recipe. You have a wonderful blog here.

Anupama
http://mitholimdo.wodpress.com

JES said...

I just made this dish tonight. It was quite wonderful. I made a couple changes, though. I had some red cabbage on hand instead of green, so I used that. And instead of dried chilies, I used 3 fresh red fresno peppers, which made the dal a pretty orange color. In the end the dish was quite colorful, different, and delicious! Thanks!

t20cook said...

Nice preparation. Looks beautiful!!

Juhi said...

Hi Lisa, i tried this out and both my husband and I loved it! Tonight I am trying out chana-saag. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing these lovely recipes! I send them to my mum too. :P

Lisa said...

Thanks Juhi for your comment and I am glad you enjoyed this recipe that is surely one of my favorites.