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South Indian cabbage poriyal, with peas

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

I occasionally like reconfiguring a traditional recipes and turning them to something new, yet maintaining the old flavors. In this case I worked the traditional cabbage poriyal, usually made with green cabbage to one where I used purple cabbage. The flavors are very similar with the purple cabbage having a slightly deeper flavor but definitely a pop of color.

I love this very simple recipe. I tend to leave the cabbage crunchy, not over cooked and mushy, and the spices add a pop of flavor. With the beautiful color of the purple cabbage this dish stands out on the table. I also added peas, not in the original recipe, because I love them, they add a contrasting color to the dish and they add a touch of creaminess to the dish. You can also use Savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage instead of purple cabbage for this dish with wonderful results.

This is one of the first cookbooks I bought. I have cooked most recipes from cover-to-cover, and I loved the recipes and flavors enough to also purchase all of Chandra Padmanabhan’s other cookbooks. Let’s say this series is my favorite for cooking traditional South Indian vegetarian cuisine.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


1 teaspoon urad dal

1 teaspoon chana dal or yellow split peas

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 dried whole red chili

1/2 teaspoon asafetida

10 curry leaves

2 fresh green chilies, slit down the side lengthwise

1 lb (450 g or 4 cups) green cabbage, finely chopped

1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen and defrosted

2 tablespoons unsweetened dried shredded coconut

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Heat a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait till oil is hot and add the dals, brown mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dried red chili, curry leaves, and asafetida, preferably in that order.

As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, less than a minute and as little as a few seconds, add the green chilies and stir for a few seconds. Now stir in the cabbage amd green peas. Turn the heat to medium-low, and cook until the cabbage is just slightly tender, about 6-8 minutes. I like to leave the cabbage crunchy, not mushy. When done add the salt and toss well.

Remove from heat. Serve immediately in a bowl or deep dish with the coconut sprinkled on top.

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