A vegetarian stir-fry made with cabbage & lentils! It’s a quick, easy & healthy weeknight meal that’s ready within 30 minutes. Naturally low carb & Paleo.
Cabbage has always been one of my least favorite vegetable! No matter what my mom made, I would always make a face when I got to know that we have cabbage for dinner. No amount of coaxing and cajoling would make my frown disappear. My dad would tell me that cabbage is good for the body and I will eventually land up liking this vegetable. It never happened in my growing years but it has happened now, finally! I will not say that it has become my favorite but it surely has become eatable and I do not despise it any longer. But in order to do that, I need to cook it in a different way every single time. It has to be a different if not new recipe. I know of a couple of recipes to cook with it and I thought there was only so much one can with cabbage but my very own Indian cuisine proved me wrong. Like you all know by now, I love reading up on world cuisines. This interest has given me a lot of insight to food in general. It is so much fun to know about how spices were traded and they got associated with different cuisines of the world. I enjoy watching all the travel themed food shows on Netflix. It’s not just about the travel, but they give you a sneak peek into their local foods, markets, history, street food scene and some classics.
I feel there are still so many dishes yet to be discovered by the world because it is tucked away in one remote part of it. Whenever I come across such a recipe that catches my attention, I quickly make a note of it in my food diary. Just the name of the dish or the ingredient. Thanks to google, I later try to read all about it, scan and compare recipes available, understand the flavors and then see how I can tweak it to suit my palate. But nothing blows my mind as much as Indian cuisine does. The variety of recipes that we have from each state is amazing. Trying out these long forgotten dishes or recreating some family favorites with a story is truly one of my favorite thing to do. My two current favorite Indian cuisines are Bengali & Konkani! They are very different yet similar to some extent. Recently I made 2 different recipes from the Bengali cuisine called Cabbage and Potato Curry and Cholar Dal. Today I am sharing with you another cabbage recipe but that’s cooked in Konkani style. Another recipe that’s on my list to try from this cuisine is the Mung Curry which I plan to cook in an Instant Pot. I will share that recipe very soon. Stay connected. This particular cabbage dish comes from the Konkani cuisine.
The term ‘upkari’ stands for a side dish that usually involves stir fried vegetables that are tempered and served with a garnish of coconut. An extremely simple curry or Indian sabzi made using basic ingredients and spices. Made in this coastal region – Konkan, this stir-fry is considered as an everyday dish and is often served with rice, dal and chapati. But it is so delicious that you will be licking it off your fingers! Cabbage, as we all know, is an excellent source of Vitamin C and also a low-calorie vegetable and hence very helpful for those who are dieting or looking for weight loss recipes. You would also love to make this as a quick-lunch box recipe for your kids as it takes very little time to make, and has immense health benefits. While reading about this dish, I got to know that traditionally its made without onion and garlic as it is offered to deities during Hindu puja. However, I prefer onion and garlic in my vegetables if I am going to serve it with any Indian bread. So I decided to add them in the recipe. BTW, you can prepare upkari using any other vegetable as well, like bottle gourd, pumpkin, snake gourd, cauliflower and even beans. I loved this sabzi because it is lightly tempered and well seasoned.
Let’s see how to make Cabbage & Lentil Stir-Fry or Cabbage Upkari. Soak chana dal lentils in warm water for an hour. Drain it and set it aside for now. Heat oil in a pan and temper mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they begin to crackle, add minced garlic, curry leaves and onions. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Then add the soaked chana dal and mix it in the masala well and cook for a minute. Then add the shredded cabbage and spice powders like turmeric, cumin and paprika along with salt. Mix everything well together and cook the cabbage for a good 13-15 minutes. Then add shredded coconut and chopped cilantro. Mix and continue to cook for another 10 minutes or until the chana dal is cooked. You can cook this covered to speed up the process. Cabbage & Lentil Stir-Fry or Cabbage Upkari is done! Serve this as a side to any Indian bread like roti/naan/chapati or along with Dal and Rice. Pack it in your lunchbox or tiffin and enjoy a hearty meal while at work/school or college. The addition of coconut brings out a very nice flavor to this curry/stir-fry. The mild sweetness from the cabbage and coconut blends well with all the spices that we added. All in all, this is an extremely flavorful dish. Do give it a try.
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Cabbage & Lentil Stir-Fry or Cabbage Upkari
- 500 gms cabbage
- 1 cup chana dal
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 4-5 curry leaves
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- salt as required
- Soak chana dal lentils in warm water for an hour. Drain it and set it aside for now. Heat oil in a pan and temper mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they begin to crackle, add minced garlic, curry leaves and onions. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Then add the soaked chana dal and mix it in the masala well and cook for a minute. Then add the shredded cabbage and spice powders like turmeric, cumin and paprika along with salt. Mix everything well together and cook the cabbage for a good 13-15 minutes. Then add shredded coconut and chopped cilantro. Mix and continue to cook for another 10 minutes or until the chana dal is cooked. Add little water if you need. You can also cook this covered to speed up the process. Cabbage & Lentil Stir-Fry or Cabbage Upkari is done! Serve this as a side to any Indian bread like roti/naan/chapati or along with Dal and Rice.
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Here are a couple of dishes that you can cook with cabbage – Kobichi Vadi | Steamed Cabbage Cakes, Vegan Cabbage Kootu/Cabbage & Lentils Gravy, Semolina/Rawa Uttapam with Cabbage and Cabbage and Onion Pakoda in Appe Pan. Some dishes that are great to pack in lunchboxes are Instant Pot Creamy Potato & Chickpeas Vegan Curry, Vegan Malvani Style Green Chana | Chickpeas Masala, How to make Dhaba Style Lasooni Mutter Palak | Garlicky Peas & Spinach, Vegan Rajasthani Carrot & Peas Gravy and Vegan Sesame Flavored Green Beans Stir Fry.