South Indian Cabbage With Yogurt

This spicy curry is inspired by a recipe by the cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey. I’ve seen other vegetarian recipes for cabbage cooked with dal (which I’ve made optional here, so you don’t have to go to a special Indian market), spices and coconut, but this one is the only one I’ve seen that’s enriched at the end with warmed yogurt. Make sure that you don’t let the yogurt get too hot or it will curdle. For a vegan dish, omit the yogurt.


  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons urad dal, or 1 teaspoon each urad dal and channa dal (optional)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • 2 dried red chilies, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half root to stem, then thinly sliced across the grain
  • 1 small cabbage (or 1/2 large), cored and shredded
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons grated coconut (to taste)
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

      127 calories; 7 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 7 grams sugars; 4 grams protein; 2 milligrams cholesterol; 52 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

6 servings


  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a 14-inch wok or 12-inch skillet, and add the mustard seeds and dal (if using). As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the cumin, chilies or cayenne, coriander seeds and turmeric. Stir together, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about three minutes. Add the cabbage. Cook, stirring, for one minute until it begins to wilt. Salt generously, stir together, cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for about eight minutes until the cabbage is just tender. Stir in the coconut, taste and adjust seasoning. Keep warm.
  2. Place the yogurt in a bowl, and place the bowl in a pot of hot water. Stir until the yogurt is warm. Scrape into the pan with the cabbage, and fold in. Serve warm with rice.
  • Advance preparation: You can make this through Step 1 several hours before you serve. Reheat, then stir in the yogurt.

25 minutes

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