Cabbage Bhaaji

As I have mentioned a few times before, Samaithu Paar (Cook and See) trilogy is the most treasured in my cookbook collection. For more than 5 decades now, new brides (including me) enter their new homes armed with the knowledge that these books has to offer. Even to this day, I constantly refer to this book for all the traditional recipes, never having to call my mom at odd hours. The accuracy and versatility of the recipes in these books speak for their longevity. I am sure these books will be in many homes for decades to come. Fortunately, they have been translated to English, to benefit the non-Tamil readers.

Between the three books, the assortment of recipes is remarkable. Curries, gravies, condiments, sweet and savoury delights (bhakshanams), even cakes, can be found in these books. All this written 50+years back, when gas stoves were not easy to get. More than recipes, the author teaches how to cook by taste and feel, rather than sticking to tsp measurements. Even if you have goofed up, she offers a few tips to set things right. In short, if you are looking for authentic Tamil recipes, without ridiculous amount of calories, these books are a must. Another review of the books here.

For Srivalli’s Curry Mela, I wanted to showcase a recipe from this book that has become a recent favourite of mine. Simple, healthy and delicious, this bhaaji personifies the book.

Cabbage Bhaaji
(serves 2)


Cabbage – about 4 cups, thinly sliced
Toor dal – ¼ cup
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Green chillies – 6 or 7, slit lengthwise
Cashew nut – about 10
Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Curry leaves – few
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, chopped
Juice of a lemon
Asafoetida – a pinch
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp


Pressure cook toor dal until soft. Boil cabbage until soft with salt, turmeric and ½ cup of water. Heat a tsp of oil and sauté green chillies until lightly charred and add to the cooked cabbage, along with cooked toor dal. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. Heat the remaining oil, splutter mustard seeds, add cashew, ginger and curry leaves and sauté till cashew turns slightly brown. Add this seasoning to the curry. Finish the dish with asafoetida, lemon juice and cilantro.

Though it has dal, this bhaaji is not to be mixed with rice, but rather to be served as a side with rice and sambar.

What you see in the picture is a real curry leaf. In spite of the ban, I was lucky to get a few sprigs, thanks to a Well Seasoned Cook. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say that I survived my recent bout of flu with curry leaves laden rasams and Vegeyum’s 4C's tea. Thank you very much, Susan.

On a different note, my days are increasingly hectic and my reader shows a few hundreds of unread posts to catch up. Though I am lagging behind on visiting your blogs, I have been catching up on my bookmarks. Below are the recipes that I tried recently and I should say loved ‘em all. I didn't find the time to visit each one of you individually to express my thanks. So please accept it in one shot, dear friends.

  1. Bagels inspired by Meeta
  2. Srivalli's groundnut chutney
  3. Jugalbandit's tomato pulp (made into pickle) and lotus root chips
  4. Lucy's Manchurian style cauliflower
  5. Nupur's cucumber dosa
  6. Sunita's vegetable pot pies
  7. Indira's beans, greens and rice skillet. I have tried numerous combination of the legumes and greens. Tastes great every single time.
  8. Cenk's peach crumble
  9. Bea's beet gnocchi, lemon poppy seed muffin
  10. Lisa's spicy parmesan crackers
  11. Susan's pistachio crusted tofu
  12. Nandita's handwo
  13. Vegeyum's 4-C's golden spiced tea


Srivalli said...

that looks great suganya...thanks for the lovely entry!..glad you liked the groundnut time use raw onions and sure you will love it more!..

amna said...

my mom makes this quite often as a deviation from the regular cabbage thoran. i am not much of a cabbage lover actually and though I try it in different gravies and curries, i still prefer gobi and other veggies to this :)

btw, i didnt know about samaithu parkalaam books. as in, never heard of them before. where can i get them, say, in chennai?

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Cabbage has never looked so gorgeous. I have to admit I normally use cabbage raw in salads but the cooked version kind of puts me off - but this looks great and I love the flavors and nuttiness!

Unknown said...

Forget the food suganya....I like the photos!!!!:-)awesome which camera is this?

keep it up ! superb shots

Anonymous said...

That bhaaji looks like perfect comfort food. I'm glad you got a chance to try the cucumber dosa, Suganya. I tried Susan V's pistachio-crusted tofu a few days ago too, and absolutely loved it.

Shreya said...

I never knew there was a ban on curry leaves! The Cabbage Bhaaji is a favorite at our house, and we usually have it with rice or chapathi. This version is definitely more rich, with the toor dal and cashew addition.Loved your recipe and the pics. Will be a sure try next time I make cabbage. :-)

sunita said...

We adore cabbage and cook it very simply too, yours looks lovely...the trilogy sounds interesting too.

Glad you liked the pot pies :-)

Lisa Turner said...

What a lovely sounding curry. I'm jotting down the name of this cookbook. I'm intrigued.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the crackers.

Unknown said...

How can u make cabbage look so pretty!

Anonymous said...

i love the samiathu paar books too suganya! those are awesome for traditional recipes - amazed at the way they used to cook so elaborate back in those days!
Cabbage bhaaji looks good - never tried this recipe and u're list of "have tried" recipes look interesting! You go girl - hope u are feeling much better now - i have been real busy at work too and have nto had much chance to comment on so many posts though i occasionally drop in!

delhibelle said...

I saw the original tamil Samaithu Paar at a second hand bookstore,did not know of the english version, will look for it.

I hardly maked cabbage sabzi, as no one around is keen on it, but this one sure sounds and looks good, and dal makes it so much more nutritious and tasty. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I tried it today and must say it tasted really good, except I managed to add too much water while boiling them.

Thanks! :)

- Anusha

Nabeela said...

If you live in California(and I'm assuming you do), the ban on curry leaf was lifted more than a month ago.
P.S: The cabbage curry looks delicious :)

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Cabbage is a favourite vegetable and we love it this way.

I just acquired my set of Samaithu Paar!

Nirmala said...

Me too a great fan of Samaithu paar! To name a few the milagu kuzhambu, Paruppu urundai kuzhambu, kesari, aval payasam, pathir peni are all our family favorites. This cabbage curry looks delicious!

SMN said...

Hey Suganya nice dish shud try it cababage is my fav.

Anonymous said...

This looks really yummy!

Unknown said...

i just got copies of samaithu paar! I make this all the time, minus the cashews though. Lovely photographs as always.

bee said...

i may just get over my cabbage hangup to try this.

Vaishali said...

Samaithu Paar is one of my favorites too, and I love cooking from it. It does feel special to be able to draw on such ancient expertise, doesn't it? I've never tried this cabbage subzi--it looks delicious.

Lucy said...

Suganya, how did you know that I am in the process of learning to love cabbage? What a wonderful set of flavours.

The books sound intriguing and very enticing.

My feed reader is out of control, too! And I am thrilled, of course, that you enjoyed the cauliflower dish.

KayKat said...

Oh man, tell me about backed-up blog reading!

I'm pretty much a Samaithu Paar worshipper too. And that cabbage curry looks dee-lish - a perfect submission for the curry mela!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Hi Suganya,

I love the idea of brides receiving a book to help them once they're on their own (though I'm sure your mother wouldn't mind getting a call from you!). Does someone in particular usually give it to the bride? BTW-I had no idea cabbage could be so beautiful.

lubnakarim06 said...

cabbage bhaaji sounds new. Looks gr8.

Pooja said...

that is such a neatly presented dish.
difficult to take eyes off it .
kudos to you Suganya.

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