Monday, December 15, 2014

South-Indian Savoy Cabbage and Tuscan Kale Saute' with Cherries

After preparing my Tuscan soup, I had some left over cabbages, and so using them for a South Indian saute' was a no-brainer. The basic ingredients and techniques are the same as many South Indian dishes, including the Poriyal I had published a few weeks ago, with the usual players that I always have in my pantry: urad dahl, black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetidia, turmeric, curry leaves, and green chilies.

The added sweetness from the cherries in this dish contrast nicely with the bitterness of the cabbage. The asafoetidia, curry leaves and cumin seeds confer that extra layer of flavor that is distinctive of South Indian cooking.

Because I am Italian, I cannot get away from using olive oil, so while most Indian dishes use some other vegetable oils, I always go back to my roots, and use some good EVOO, which is healthier than many vegetable oils. But one use the cooking oil that one feels more comfortable with.

This dish is so addictive that bite after bite,  before you know it you will be staring at an empty bowl. But the good news is that you don't have to feel guilty about it, because cabbages are low-calorie nutrition powerhouses. 


  • 1/2 savoy cabbage, rinsed and shredded
  • about 4 stalks of black Italian cabbage (also referred to as Tuscan kale), stems removed, and leaves chopped horizontally
  • shallots, about 5, sliced relatively thinly
  • green chilies – ½ or 1, for those who desire more heat
  • curry leaves – about 6
  • olive oil – enough to coat the bottom of a pan
  • black mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • urad dhal – 1 teaspoon
  • cumin seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • asafoetedia- a healthy pinch
  • turmeric powder- a small pinch
  • dried cherries-a handful
  • salt (and optional black pepper) to taste

for pictured instructions on how to slice/shred the cabbages, visit my previous post


1. Cover the bottom of a pan with the oil, then heat the oil on low. Add the mustard seeds and urad dahl.
2. Continue to fry on low heat till the mustard seeds make a popping sound and the urad dahl turns golden, making sure it does not brown.
3. Add the cumin seeds.
4. Add the green chilies, curry leaves, asafoetida (and turmeric). Fry for 10 to 12 seconds.
5. Add the shallots, and sauté until translucent.
6. Add the shredded savoy and Tuscan cabbages and saute’ on medium heat while stirring occasionally, several minutes.
7. Turn up the heat, and  add about ¼ cup of water, allow some to evaporate, stir again and then cook, covered, until soft, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon (but don’t allow the sautee’ to burn).
8.Taste for doneness, and if necessary, add more water and repeat step 7 above.
10..Before the cabbage is fully done, add the dried cherries and cook uncovered for a few more minutes.
11. Drizzle with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil
12. Add salt and pepper to taste.

13. Serve with rice or couscous, or enjoy as is.

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