Updated: Apr 26, 2021
I have been accused of not posting many North Indian recipes, this is because I struggle to find the unusual dish. Everyone is tired of seeing yet another recipe for butter chicken or palak paneer. This is what I came across and made recently, so here you go. Of course you all know that I have cooked and photographed every recipe I post on my blog or Instagram. A very contemporary take on a tradition recipe gives boring cabbage a delicious twist. Traditional spices are used to make a delicious North Indian flavored sauce that is stuffed into almost crunchy cabbage. This unusual dish is both visually pleasing and also pops with flavor on your palate. This vegetarian cookbook by Pushpesh Pant is a follow up to his tome on Indian cooking. It is packed with fabulous recipes with both common and unusual vegetables. The recipes are a step up from those found in most common cookbooks. This is a cookbook I highly recommend for those who have lots of parties and want to step up their cooking game.
For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.
1 medium head cabbage
2 tablespoons mustard oil
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
6-8 black peppercorns
3-4 green cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
2 medium onions
1 tablespoon ginger paste
4-5 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
A few blades mace, crushed
Salt to taste
1 large potato, cut into small dice
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
Water as needed
Cilantro, minced for garnish
Remobe the bruised and tough outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut 1/4 off the base at the stem and the tough outer stems. Gently remove the tough outer ribs of the large leaves, leaving the leaves intact. From the top of the cabbage, make 3-4 cuts (6-8 wedges, depending on the size of the cabbage) about 3/4 way into the cabbage. Do NOT cut through the cabbage, it must still hold form and tight. I like the extra cuts so that the sauce has a chance to get to the inner leaves of the cabbage and flavor them,
Make the spice paste by blending together the onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger into a smooth paste.
Heat the oil on a medium flame in a deep pot that will fit the whole cabbage head easily. Add the whole spices and sauté for 30 seconds till they just begin to color. Add the spice paste and sauté till the paste thickens and the oils begin to release, about 6-10 minutes on a medium flame. Stir often so the spice paste does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Add the powdered dry spices and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the potatoes and peas and cook for 2-3 minutes to coat the potatoes with the paste mix. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer gently until the potatoes are almost cooked. Make sure these is enough water to steam the cabbage in the next step.
Add the cabbage, cut side down, add some additional water if needed, and simmer in a tightly closed pot for 6-7 minutes. Open the cover, and turn the cabbage upside down, with the stem side now immersed in the curry. Add water only if the curry is very dry and you are afraid to burn the paste. Try and stuff the curry, which should be a semi-solid at this point, into the cuts of the cabbage. Close with a tight lid and simmer gently for an additional 5 minutes. You want the cabbage to be partially cooked, the outside soft but the inside still a bit crunchy.
To serve, heat the cabbage and masala in the same pot till hot. Gently move the cabbage into a deep bowl, I prefer one that is just bigger than the cabbage head. Stuff the masala paste with potatoes and peas, that should be quite thick, into the slits letting it overflow around the cabbage. Sprinkle some minced cilantro on top and serve.