Carefree cabbage curry
from In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky
Often, when cabbage gets braised, it is shredded, grated or chopped in some way where you lose the beauty of its folds and undulations. Here, the rich golden marinade and equally shimmering gravy only serves to emphasise the majestic grandeur of this brilliant Brassica. This dish is fully plant-based, too, which means it’s a perfect plan-ahead for when people come round and you’re not quite sure of their dietaries.
— Ingredients —
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
⅓ cup (80 g) coconut yoghurt
1 teaspoon salt flakes
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) savoy or white cabbage (about ½‑cabbage)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 curry leaf branches
1 brown onion, thickly sliced
1 long green chilli, split, plus extra sliced green chilli to serve
250 g (9 oz) white-fleshed potatoes, cleaned and chopped into 2 cm (¾‑inch) pieces
400 ml (14 fl oz) tin coconut milk
1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup (140 g) frozen peas
nigella seeds, for sprinkling
steamed basmati rice and flatbreads, to serve (optional)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, bruised and peeled
3 cm (1¼ inch) knob of fresh ginger, peeled and‑sliced
2 teaspoons mild chilli powder (we used Kashmiri)
1½ teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
— Method —
Mix the turmeric, yoghurt and salt together in a medium-sized bowl. If you’d like the cabbage as ‘steaks’, cut the cabbage into four thick wedges, including the core. For a ‘pulled cabbage’ curry, remove the core and separate the leaves. Add the cabbage leaves or wedges to the turmeric mixture and stir to coat well.
For the curry paste, heat the coconut oil in a wide heavy-based frying pan over medium–low heat. Add the garlic and ginger and gently fry, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Add the remaining curry paste ingredients and cook for another 1–2 minutes, until aromatic and darkened slightly. Transfer to a blender with cup (80 ml) water and whiz until smooth.
Place the pan back over medium heat and add the coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add the curry leaf branches and cook for 1–2 minutes, or until crisp. Remove using tongs and drain on paper towel.
Add the curry paste to the pan, along with the onion, green chilli and potato and cook, stirring frequently, for 4‑minutes, until caramelised. Stir in most of the coconut milk (reserving a drizzle for serving), along with the sugar and 1 cup (250 ml) water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until the potato is half-cooked.
Add the cabbage, with the marinade. Cover and cook, stirring or turning the cabbage halfway through, for 15 minutes, or until the cabbage has softened and the‑potato is cooked through.
Stir in the lemon juice and peas, then remove from the heat. Cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes to warm‑through.
To serve, scatter the curry with the crispy curry leaves, nigella seeds and extra chilli, and a final drizzle of coconut milk. This curry yields quite a bit of gravy, so you may like to serve with basmati rice and flatbreads, or on its own as more of a soup.
Images and text from In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky, photography by Ben Dearnley. Murdoch Books RRP $59.99