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Cabbage Thoran – Fried South Indian Cabbage

Cabbage is one of the most versatile of vegetables. Jes Thomas shows us how to use it in this Indian dish.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Cabbage Thoran – Fried South Indian Cabbage
Prepared by Jes Thomas

From Jes:

Cabbage Thoran is a sautéed vegetable dish made in Kerala which is found on the southern tip of India. Thoran can be made with many vegetables.  It is made up of finely chopped or grated vegetables cooked with spices, herbs and coconut.  Most Kerala dishes are made with coconut oil and either sliced, shredded or ground coconut. Kerala is translated to  "Land of Coconuts".


2 tablespoon coconut oil
10 to 12 curry leaves
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 jalapeno, seeded  and chopped
1 medium-sized cabbage
1 medium sized onion or 4 to 5 shallots - finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
2 T to 1/2  C grated coconut, unsweetened (to taste)
3 T chopped cilantro leaves for garnishing (optional)


Rinse the cabbage and slice thinly.

Melt the coconut oil in a pan.

Add the mustard seed and sauté till they pop.( Be careful and stay clear so you don't get burned!)

Stir in the cumin and watch for it to brown (5-10 seconds).

Quickly add the chopped onion. Sauté till translucent.

Add the chopped jalapeno and curry leaves and sauté for a minute.

Now stir in the ground turmeric.  Lastly, add the cabbage and salt. Stir and sauté for a minute.

Cover the pan and cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is tender. Make sure all the liquid is evaporated. The bottom will get a little brown, so stir in those caramelized bits.

When the cabbage is cooked, add the coconut. Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves

Serve the cabbage thoran hot with some steamed rice or chapati. 

Ingredients can be found at:

1645 Downtown W Blvd #26, Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 951-2423

Click here for information on Southern Foodways Alliance.