Indian spiced stir-fried cabbage

Exotic spices like cumin, fennel, and garam masala bring cabbage to life in this easy side dish. Lemon juice and cayenne pepper add an extra zing.

The Garden of Eating
Cabbage doesn't have to be boring! Spices it up with Indian flavors.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm crazy for cabbage but even if you're not, I bet you'll like this wonderful version. Mellow, sweet cabbage and caramelized onions meld with the warm, exotic flavors of cumin, fennel, and garam masala and get a little jolt of excitement from lemon juice and cayenne pepper.

Toasting the spices – cumin, fennel and sesame seeds – amplifies their flavors and brings out a nice nutty taste in the sesame. Sautéing makes the onions soft, sweet and mellow. Ditto for the cabbage. Cooking it reveals a whole other side with a sweet, pleasing flavor.

Cook it until the flavors meld and the cabbage and onions are soft and mellow. Then squeeze a little lemon juice over it – the acid brings all the flavors into focus.

Indian-spiced braised cabbage
Adapted slightly from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking
Serves 4-6

1 small head of cabbage, coarse outer leaves removed, core removed and sliced
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
4 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
Juice of half a lemon

1. Heat the oil in a wide-bottomed cast iron skillet over medium heat. When it's hot but not so hot it's smoking, add the spices. Cook, stirring often, until the sesame seeds begin to pop, then add the onions and stir. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often until the onions become opaque and aromatic.

2. Add the cabbage and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cabbage begins to brown a bit. Add the salt, the garam masala and the cayenne pepper and cook for another 6-7 minutes, until the cabbage is soft and translucent.

3. Add the lemon juice and stir, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed before serving.

Related post on The Garden of Eating: Salty Sweet Roasted Cabbage

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