Growing up, this was not exactly my favorite curry. I ate it just because my mom made it and never stopped for a minute to appreciate the amazing flavors achieved with just a few simple ingredients. This was not a curry made for guests or for special occasions (but it should be!). This was made for average daily consumption. And I didn’t even like cabbage to begin with, I mean, what kid does? Honestly!
It was when I left home, started to cook and missed my mom’s food that I began to fully appreciate this dish. Not too many curried cabbage dishes taste amazing but this one sure does. I did not, however, get it right the first couple of times I tried it and had no idea what I was doing wrong. The texture and consistency was all completely off. It was only after I watched my mom do it that I realized I was missing a very crucial step. After boiling the cabbage, you HAVE to squeeze out the water. That’s what I learned that day I watched my mom and since then, I am happy to report, I have been making it just right.
Here are a couple more tips to remember- first, try and soak the chana dal for at least 30 min in hot water. This will cut down your boiling time. Second, DO NOT add salt until you are done with the dish and about to serve. If you add salt while cooking or when the dish is hot, you will end up with a cabbage mush.
If you like cabbage, this will become regular at your home. If you don’t, I hope the curry will make you change your opinion. I am leaving you with just one note; please do not skip/substitute any ingredients or steps. It will not be the same if you do, so please just make it the same way and enjoy.
½ head cabbage, chopped
½ cup chana dal, soaked in hot water for 30min
3 green chilies, chopped
½ cup coriander, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds/rai
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
½ tsp turmeric
Add the chana dal to a pot full of water and boil (removing the foam) until it is al dente.
Add the chopped cabbage and boil for 3-4 minutes.
Drain everything (collect the water if you want cabbage stock) and let it sit in the colander for a few minutes. Once it is cool enough to touch, press on the mixture to remove as much water as possible. Turn the mixture a few times, squeezing and removing as much water as possible.
Heat oil and add the mustard and cumin seeds.
Once the mustard starts to splutter, add the green chilies. Let it cook for a minute.
Then add the turmeric and the cabbage-dal mixture.
Mix well and sauté for 5-6 minutes or until it starts to dry out just a little.
Then add the coriander, mix well and remove from heat. Do not dry out the curry.
Add salt when it is just warm or before serving.