This cabbage poriyal (like this beetroot palya) is a delicious and delicately flavored dish. The cabbage cooked with mild spices and fried lentils gives this dish such a delicious flavor and texture that you will have your family come back for seconds!
The simplest things in life give us so much pleasure, isn't it? If you have tried my super speedy sauteed okra or the sauteed butternut squash, you will know what I mean. These recipes are the definition of minimal effort with maximum flavor!
I mean, why would anyone want to slave in the kitchen for hours if you can have delicious and nutritious food in a matter of minutes?! Let me guess, does this 5 minutes corn and peas salad come to your mind too 🙌.
Now coming back to this dish that we are going to make today, what makes this simple dish even better is that cabbage is a highly nutritious vegetable that is packed with vitamins and minerals.
It is a rich source of vitamin C, folate, and dietary fiber, making it a great choice for a healthy diet.
What is your favorite cabbage recipe? Do let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you - Padma
What is poriyal?
Sautéed vegetables are part of everyday meals in South India. Poriyal is a traditional dish made with vegetables and whole spices.
Generally, the vegetables are chopped or shredded and then sautéed and steamed with spices and topped with freshly grated coconut. The result is a flavorful and fragrant side dish that can be served as part of a meal or as a snack.
Poriyal is often served with rice and other Indian dishes. See serving suggestions and meal ideas below.
💡 Poriyal is known as thoran in Kerala and palya in Karnataka.
This cabbage recipe will become your family's favorite!
Here are the reasons why:
- It is flavorful and fragrant, with a hint of sweetness and a touch of heat.
- This a healthy recipe that is low in calories - just perfect for the days when you want to eat something light.
- Beginner-friendly recipe - if you are new to Indian cooking, this recipe is a good place to start.
- It is a gluten-free, plant-based recipe (see the section below for more details).
- It comes together in under 30 minutes.
- A pretty-looking dish like this beetroot raita - don't we all eat with our eyes first?!
Allergens Free Labels
This quick and easy cabbage stir fry recipe is free of these allergens:
- Gluten (some brands of asafoetida may contain gluten - do check the label)
This is a grain-free, plant-based recipe.
Some of the ingredients may require you to make a trip to an Indian grocery store but trust me, the effort will be well worth it!
See the recipe card for quantities.
Cabbage: This dish works best with white cabbage (which is not white, but actually pale green in color!) because it tastes sweeter and cooks faster than the other two varieties.
Coconut: Freshly grated (see notes below).
Chilies: Fresh ones - red or green. I have used one of each for additional color. Adjust the quantity as per your taste. This dish is meant to have just a hint of heat so don't overpower it with spicy chilies!
Water: This is to help build the steam for cooking the vegetable.
For the tempering:
Split chickpea lentils: Also known as chana dal.
White lentils: Also known as urad dal.
Mustard seeds: Use brown or black ones.
Oil: I have used neutral oil. You can use coconut oil, if you like, for a more pronounced coconutty flavor.
Curry leaves: Use fresh or dried ones (see notes below).
Have a question regarding the ingredients? Feel free to ask in the comments section below and I will try my best to answer it for you.
This cabbage thoran recipe is such an easy one. I use my food processor to make it even easier. Let's find out how.
Also, see the video at the end of the recipe card.
Step 1: Prep the ingredients
- Wash and chop the cabbage. Chop it finely. I use my food processor to shred it. You can make fine slices if that is what you prefer.
- Chop the chilies into halves, lengthwise, or into rounds.
- Measure the rest of the ingredients.
Step 2: Make the poriyal.
- Add oil to a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the spices for tempering.
- Fry them until the lentils turn golden brown and the mustard seeds begin to 'pop'.
- Add the cabbage, chilies, salt, and turmeric.
- Mix well so that the oil and the spices coat the cabbage.
- Add a splash of water, cover, and cook the cabbage just until it is tender and still has a bit of crunch to it.
- Take off the heat and add the grated coconut.
That's it! Quick and easy cabbage poriyal is ready!
See serving suggestions below.
Notes, tips, and storage
Coconut: For the best taste, use fresh coconut. Frozen grated coconut will also do. If using coconut pieces, mince them in the grinder first. The quantity mentioned here is that of defrosted coconut.
Tempering: Also known as tarka, as you may know, is a way of adding flavor and texture to a dish. Whole or powdered spices are fried gently in oil or ghee and added to the dish either at the beginning or at the end of the cooking process.
The making of poriyal begins with a tempering of whole spices and herbs. The lentils add a delicious crunch and some protein to the dish. The mustard seeds, though pungent and slightly spicy by nature, when fried, mellow to a sweet nuttiness. The cumin seeds add an earthy flavor and the asafoetida brings an onion-like flavor to the dish.
Can I skip the tempering part? The spices add a lovely flavor and texture to the dish. If you cannot get your hands on all of the spices, add as many of them as you have. Maybe just the cumin and mustard seeds? Or skip the mustard seeds and add the rest?
Curry leaves: They are an essential part of South Indian cooking. The heady aroma of fresh curry leaves is well worth the effort of a trip to an Indian store. Use the dried version if that is what you have. Cannot find them where you are? It is ok, just skip it.
Oil: I have used neutral oil here. You can use coconut oil for a more pronounced coconut flavor.
Chilies: This dish is mildly spiced with just a hint of heat from the chilies. You can, if you prefer, reduce the number of chilies. But please do not, even if you are a fan of spicy food, overpower this dish with too much spice.
How many calories are in cabbage poriyal? A serving of this dish is just 56 calories! It is nutritious because of the lentils and coconut. Plus cumin and asafoetida are gut-friendly spices that help in digestion.
Top tips for making the perfect sauteed cabbage:
- It all begins with the cut! This is a quick and easy recipe and the cooking time directly depends on how finely the cabbage is chopped.
- Use cabbage that is fresh and tender - for faster cooking and a sweet taste.
- For the best taste use white cabbage.
- Do not overcook the cabbage. Overcooked cabbage will become soggy and lose its flavor and texture.
Storage: This dish will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Store it in a fridge-safe container with a tight lid.
Mum's top tip: If you want to make it last longer, store it without adding the coconut. Add the coconut after reheating it.
Any doubts or questions? Feel free to ask via the comments below. I will try my best to answer them for you.
Serving suggestions and meal ideas
Traditionally, poriyal is served as a side with a typical South Indian meal consisting of rice, a kootu (such as this zucchini kootu), sambar, or a vegetable stew, some pickle, a portion of greens (such as this spinach stir fry), and some curd (yogurt) to finish off the meal.
....and then sleep attacks 😂
For days when such an elaborate meal is not on the cards, keep it simple and pair it with a comforting spinach dal to make a nutritious grain-free meal.
This dish tastes great with roti or naan too. You might find it a bit dry to have it on its own with roti - pair it with something like this nourishing green moong dal.
There are many delicious and flavorful dishes you can make from cabbage Indian style. Popular dishes include cabbage and potato curry, cabbage poriyal, cabbage paratha, and cabbage fried rice. You can also make a delicious soup or stir-fry with cabbage. The possibilities are endless!
1. Raw: You can enjoy cabbage raw in salads or as a side dish. It can also be pickled or fermented for a flavor-packed snack.
2. Cooked: Cabbage can be cooked in many different ways. You can sauté it with spices, use it in soups and stews, make stir-fries, or use it as a filling for dumplings.
3. Juiced: Cabbage is a great vegetable for making juice. You can mix it with other vegetables and fruits to create a delicious and nutritious drink.
If you have made this cabbage poriyal, please take a moment to leave a comment and a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! You can also engage with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram xx Padma
Quick and Easy Cabbage Poriyal Recipe
- 1 wok or skillet
- 1 spatula
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon chickpea lentils (chana dal)
- 1 teaspoon white lentils (urad dal)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ⅕ teaspoon powdered asafetida (hing)
- 4-5 curry leaves
- ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 small cabbage (300 grams, approximately) (3 ½ cups when chopped)
- 2 green chilies
- 3 tablespoons grated coconut (fresh or frozen) - see notes below
- 1 teaspoon salt (adjust as per taste)
- ⅕ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons water
Start with some prep work
- Wash and chop finely. I use a food processor for this. This is a quick and easy recipe and the cooking time directly depends on how finely the cabbage is chopped.
- Slice the chilies into halves, lengthwise, or chop them into rounds.
- Measure the ingredients and keep them ready.
Make the poriyal
- Add oil to a wok or skillet on medium-high heat.2 teaspoons neutral oil
- To the hot oil, add the chickpea and white lentils. Stir them around and when they begin to change color, add the cumin, mustard, asafetida, and curry leaves.1 teaspoon chickpea lentils (chana dal), 1 teaspoon white lentils (urad dal), 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ⅕ teaspoon powdered asafetida (hing), 4-5 curry leaves, ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- When the mustard starts to splutter, add the chilies and the cabbage.1 small cabbage (300 grams, approximately), 2 green chilies
- Add salt, turmeric, and water. Mix.Cover and cook till cabbage is cooked - 8 to 10 minutes. I like the cabbage to still have a bit of crunch. If you like it soft, then cook it for another 2-3 minutes.1 teaspoon salt, ⅕ teaspoon turmeric, 2 tablespoons water
- If using frozen or desiccated coconut, then add it in when there is still 1-2 minutes of cooking left.
- Take off the heat and add the fresh coconut. Mix3 tablespoons grated coconut
- Serve warm with a main meal of your choice. I love having this as a side with cooked rice and this comforting spinach dal.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only.
Note: The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.