Warm Cabbage and Coconut Slaw

This week’s recipe will feel like a ‘food hug’, a warm slaw made with shredded cabbage and grated coconut; cooked down in an oil tempering of whole spices and fresh aromatics, all brought together with a hint of nutmeg and drizzle of tangy lime juice.

Warm Slaw of Shredded Cabbage and Grated Coconut makes a Hearty Vegetarian Meal or Side.

Warm Slaw of Shredded Cabbage and Grated Coconut makes a Hearty Vegetarian Meal or Side.

Warm cabbage and coconut slaw loosely draws its inspiration from a beloved and stunningly simple ‘thoran-style’ of preparing vegetables with grated coconut and spices; a cooking technique I learnt during my years living in south India.

I’ve tried this style of cooking with a variety of vegetables like beans and spinach in addition to cabbage, always with amazing results.

While traditionally served with steamed rice in southern India, I prefer this spiced warm cabbage and coconut slaw accompanied by Indian flatbread like rice-n-lentil crepe ‘Dosa’, or wheat-based Roti-Chapati, or just good ole bread rolls.

A frequent weeknight vegetable entrée in our home, warm cabbage and coconut slaw also makes a great side to meat preparations like this chicken curry or these pork tenderloin burgers.

Enjoy my version of a ‘food hug’…

Warm Cabbage and Coconut Slaw in a Tempering of Spices and Aromatics, with a Hint of Nutmeg and Drizzle of Tangy Lime Juice

Warm Cabbage and Coconut Slaw in a Tempering of Spices and Aromatics,
with a Hint of Nutmeg and Drizzle of Tangy Lime Juice

Warm Cabbage and Coconut Slaw
Serves 4
Spiced warm slaw made with shredded cabbage and grated coconut; cooked down in an oil tempering of whole spices and fresh aromatics, all brought together with a hint of nutmeg and drizzle of tangy lime juice.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. shredded cabbage (about ½ a medium head of cabbage)
  2. ½ cup fresh shredded coconut OR desiccated coconut (see notes)
  3. 1½ tablespoon canola oil
  4. 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  5. 3-4 cloves garlic cloves, chopped (2 teaspoons chopped garlic)
  6. 6-7 curry leaves (if unavailable, leave them out, there's plenty of flavor going on)
  7. 2 whole Thai green chilies or 1 Serrano pepper (optional, for a subtle spice kick)
  8. ½ teaspoon ground red chili or Cayenne pepper
  9. ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  10. ¾-1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  11. ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  12. 1 tablespoon lime juice
  13. 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Directions
  1. Heat canola oil in a sauté pan and add mustard seeds, chopped garlic, curry leaves and whole chili to it; always watch out for spattering when adding ingredients to hot oil. Turn off the flame if needed, while adding these ingredients.
  2. Stir for about half a minute and add the shredded cabbage and grated coconut. Sprinkle ground red chili or Cayenne pepper and turmeric over the cabbage. Stir and cook covered for 7-10 minutes on a low flame. Cabbage has its own moisture content, so no additional water is required.
  3. Next add salt and ground nutmeg, stir for another minute. It’s important to add salt after the cabbage has cooked, else salt releases water from raw vegetables, if added earlier in the cooking process.
  4. Turn off the flame, sprinkle lime juice and chopped cilantro, and leave covered for the flavors to blend. Pull out & discard the whole chilies at this stage, if desired.
  5. Serve spiced warm cabbage and coconut slaw as a vegetable entrée or side to your favorite meat, accompanied by Indian flatbread like rice-n-lentil crepe ‘Dosa’, wheat-based Roti-Chapati, or good ole bread rolls.
Note on Coconut
  1. When I say ‘fresh’ coconut, it’s perfectly fine to use the frozen packs of ‘fresh’ shredded coconut, easily found at gourmet food markets (like Whole Foods, Central Market and Sprouts, to name a few where I live.) Ethnic Asian food stores also sell these packs in their frozen section. Be sure to check the list of ingredients for pure coconut with no additives or preservatives…Sure beats having to break open a coconut and grate it yourself!
Peri's Spice Ladle http://www.perisspiceladle.com/

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Comments

    • says

      So true, I can’t tell you how often I’ve made this dish in a crunch and its always been so well received! One of my favorite back-up sides:) Thanks for trying it…and glad I found your wonderful site.

  1. says

    No wonder i liked the title of this recipe, I LOVE thoran’s and find them incredibly adaptable and also useful in the kitchen when you want to fix something fresh – I also find they go with just about every kind of meal too! a lovely interpretation

    • says

      Perfect description for the ‘thoran’, Claire, so happy to hear that you’ve heard of and had it before:) South Indian dishes are highly unexposed outside India, their flavors are simple and wholesome. This version is my go-to meal for days when I just have to put something quick together. Also, my favorite side for parties since it does so well at room temperature. Thanks!

    • says

      So true, a common string running through Indian cuisines, though the south Indian versions use more coconut like this one while gujarati shaak calls for cumin and a touch of sweetness, perhaps jaggery or sugar:)

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