If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm crazy for cabbage but even if you're not, I bet you'll like this wonderful version. Mellow, sweet cabbage and caramelized onions meld with the warm, exotic flavors of cumin, fennel and garam masala and get a little jolt of excitement from lemon juice and cayenne pepper.
Toasting the spices - cumin, fennel and sesame seeds - amplifies their flavors and brings out a nice nutty taste in the sesame.
Sauteing makes the onions soft, sweet and mellow.
Ditto for the cabbage. Cooking it reveals a whole other side with a sweet, pleasing flavor.
Cook it until the flavors meld and the cabbage and onions are soft and mellow. Then squeeze a little lemon juice over it - the acid brings all the flavors into focus.
This recipe is a slight adaptation from one in the excellent Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking.
Indian-Spiced Braised Cabbage
* 1 small head of cabbage, coarse outer leaves removed, core removed and sliced
* 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
* 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
* 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
* 1 tsp sesame seeds
* 4 Tbsps grapeseed or canola oil
* 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 1 tsp garam masala
* Juice of half a lemon
1. Heat the oil in a wide-bottomed cast iron skillet over medium heat. When it's hot but not so hot it's smoking, add the spices. Cook, stirring often, until the sesame seeds begin to pop, then add the onions and stir. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often until the onions become opaque and aromatic.
2. Add the cabbage and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cabbage begins to brown a bit. Add the salt, the garam masala and the cayenne pepper and cook for another 6-7 minutes, until the cabbage is soft and translucent.
3. Add the lemon juice and stir, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed before serving.
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