Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When You've Got A Little, Make A Lot

It's windy on our hill, and pouring down rain here in Sonoma. The sort of day one wants to spend in a warm and brightly lit kitchen. The sort of day one wants to do nothing but cook, and certainly not go out shopping for something to cook!
Today is a day I want many things, burfi, (since I saw it on Sanjanas' Blog last night), my 5 hour rice pudding, laddos, curried potatoes with fenugreek. Oh, all sorts of things. But what, it all comes down to, am I prepared and stocked up to cook.
I cook lunch nearly every day. It's our main meal. Dinner is an apple , a little cheese, some nuts, etc. Lunch in our house is a Big Deal. Since we're in most all of every day writing, I'm a great planner ahead. I usually know what I've got and how I'm cooking it, and when it'll go bad, so I have to cook it. When we've finished a piece of work, as we did a few days ago however, all bets are off. We've turned our project in to the powers that be, and confusion reigns. Which brings me to lunch today.
Rainy days are never my favorite shopping days. Putting on my wellies, going down the hill, navigating highway 12...not my favorite thing. No sirree. So what to cook when one does not want to do a lot of shopping, but prefers to sit in ones office playing Mafia Wars on Facebook???
Carrots with Cabbage and Coconut!! This is a dish that is so fast, and so easy and so ...basic that if I hadn't been stuck with those very ingredients I probably wouldn't have cooked it. But, I'm so glad I did.
All one needs for this is a few kitchen staples. I happen to go nuts for those little 8 oz bags of shredded cabbage that people generally use for cole slaw. It is exactly one of those that I used for this dish.

This is what I did with it.
In a deep skillet, or Kadhai heat
1.) 2 Tbs of vegetable oil
2.) when the oil is hot add in 1/2 tsp of black mustard seeds
When the seeds begin to snap, crackle and pop add in
3.) 1 small onion finely chopped
4.) 1 green serrano chili split in half
5.) 6 curry leaves
Stir fry these until the onion is translucent and soft.

Then add in
6.) 1 cup of dried grated unsweetened coconut. Stir it all up, so that the coconut begins to toast lightly.

When it's aromatic add in
7.) 1 8 oz package of shredded white cabbage and
8.) 2 peeled and grated carrots

Stir fry all of this together until the cabbage and carrots cook through. It took about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve!
The carrots and cabbage tasted spicy and buttery, though no butter was used. All that and healthy too?! It was just the punch of flavor that a rainy day lunch needed and no special trips to the market involved.
This recipe served my husband and myself as a side dish and there was plenty left over....if you're a normal person. We ate all of it. As I said, lunch is our main meal. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


  1. Yummmm! It looks wonderful. I hear that it is raining like crazy there. Good to just stay inside.

  2. This is a great way to use up leftovers! I'm not amazing at using up whats in the fridge... I should really start planning things! In our house we make a dish called Sambharo which is very similar to your recipe here minus the coconut (which is a really nice addition!)Thank you for the lil mention here! As a new blogger, I really appreciate it! :)

  3. What's a curry leaf? I was under the impression there was no such thing as an all-in-one curry-flavored plant, that curry refers to a combination of flavors. Is this erroneous?

  4. There is such a thing. It is also known as Sweet Neem Leaf or Limbro in Gujarati. They are usually used when tempering spices and impart a deep aromatic flavour on the dish. They don't taste like the usual 'curry' spices or spice powders you buy from a shop. The term 'curry' comes from 'karahi' which is the pan used too cook it in (as Kathy has used here). Most people don't eat curry leaves, but they wouldn't cause any harm if you were to eat one. Some people deep fry them and add them to a snack called Chevdo which is made of deep fried potatoes, mung beans and various nuts (they taste good when deep fried!)Hope this helps!

  5. What a fun dish! This is a great way to spice up cabbage.

  6. @sanjana..thanks for answering the curry question. I freeze my curry leaves in little packets and they keep very well, as it's a 50 mile round trip to get to the place that sells them. Meanwhile I'm wrestling with coconut burfi.

  7. I love curry leaves, that reminds me that I have a frozen bag in the freezer. I love whatever contains coconut too, I used to work for an Indian company and my boss was eating this amazing dish that smelled like perfume for lunch that was making me drool.

  8. Cabbage cooked with curry leaves, that must have tasted awesome!
    Angie's Recipes

  9. @Sanjana... Yes, thank you, that clears up a great deal.
    @Kathy... Good luck with the burfi!

  10. I bet that was amazing! I had never heard of curry leaves either--I will check those out!



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