From humble beginnings come great things.
A simple vegetable curry served with fresh rotis (Indian flatbread) is a typical lunch in a Gujarati home. This sort of humble food is deeply rooted in my humble beginnings. And though, now, things may have changed on the outside; at heart, nothing has, and this simple Gujarati girl still craves these simple yet delicious curries. I cook them not only to satisfy my own cravings but to ensure that I can at least pass this portion of my heritage to my Canadian born, half-Indian children.
Typically, a Gujarati cabbage curry includes potatoes but I prefer to omit them (cause we eat enough potatoes!). Also, instead of using diced tomatoes, I purée them first, ensuring that they remain hidden from my 8-year-old who finds mushy pieces of tomatoes not suitable for human consumption. I also like to have the cabbage on the slightly crunchy side; it is more nutritious that way I’m told. If you prefer to have the cabbage well done, then simply add a few tablespoons of water or use an additional half of a tomato (about 50-70 g more) and increase the cooking time.
Indian-Spiced Cabbage with Tomatoes and Green Peas
- 325 g (about 1/2 of a small head) green cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded (be sure to fist remove outer damaged and tough leaves as well as the core)
- 140 g (about 1 medium) tomato, puréed or diced if you prefer
- 80 g (about 3/4 cups) frozen green peas
- 1/8 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp methi seeds
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small chili, finely sliced
- 8-10 curry leaves, fresh preferred but dry will do
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp chili powder (optional, add if you like it hot)
- In a karahi (or large frying pan or wok), heat oil over medium-high heat and add methi and mustard seeds. Allow the seeds to crackle for 15 seconds.
- Add chili and curry leaves and let fry for 5 seconds.
- Add cabbage and stir in the spices. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes and cook, covered for 5 minutes.
- Stir in peas and cook covered for another 5 minutes. Enjoy with fresh rotis or rice, as a light lunch or as a side for dinner.
Note 1: You should end up with a dry curry and the cabbage should remain slightly crunchy. If you wish to soften the cabbage further, you can add a bit of water (2-3 tbsp) or use an additional half of a tomato (about 50-70 g) and cook for longer.
Note 2: Also, if you wish to include potatoes, add 1 small potato, diced, along with the cabbage as it too requires a longer cooking time.