South Indian Cabbage + Peas Curry

As you read a recipe for a spiced stir-fried cabbage, you may think meh..cabbage. But this Tamil style (southern Indian) version, sauteed with curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric, and mustard seeds makes the combination of cabbage, green bell peppers and fresh peas magical. You could also add potatoes to make it a bit more substantial. Either way, a great side dish!

They are typically served with sambar (south Indian veggie+lentil stew), or rasam (south indian spiced broth). You could simply serve this with your preferred grains (rice, quinoa, or millets) for a perfect comfort meal, or even with dal. Do try!


serves 4 to 6
1 medium head of cabbage, chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup fresh green peas (you could use frozen; thawed to room temperature)
1 large green bell pepper, seeds removed, chopped into bite size pieces
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp urad dal (ulutham paruppu)
1/2 tsp split chana dal or bengal gram dal (kadalai paruppu)
2 whole dried red chillies (substitute 1/2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes)
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves or ~10 curry leaves, washed and roughly chopped
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp coarse salt

Prep/Chop cabbage and green bell peppers, and set aside.

Heat a large non stick saute pan over medium-high heat, and add 2 tbsp canola oil. Heat oil for about 15 seconds. Add mustard seeds.

Once mustard seeds begin popping (takes about 30 seconds) add asafoetida powder, the measured urad and bengal gram dals. Saute for another 30 seconds until the dals just start turning golden brown. These add such a great crunch to the finished dish!

Reduce the heat to medium, and add turmeric powder and dried red chillies. Fry for 10 more seconds. Now add the curry leaves. Be careful during this step, curry leaves tend to splutter extra. Also, during these steps, make sure you’re tending closely to the spices, or they’ll burn easily.

Now add the cup of peas, and about 1/4 tsp salt. Toss well and let cook for 2-3 minutes.

Next add the chopped cabbage, the remaining salt, and mix thoroughly.


Cook for about 5 minutes. Now add in the green bell peppers, mix and cover the pan with a lid. Continue cooking covered for 6-8 minutes.

Check for doneness of the veggies. I prefer to cook them until tender, still firm with a bit of a bite.  Cook a couple of extra minutes based on your preference, if necessary.


And it’s done, and it’s that easy! Serve hot with your grain of choice. Rice, quinoa, or millets are all perfect accompaniments.



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