Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to "Dal" Up Your Cabbage For A Wintery Holiday Treat


I keep getting tempted by those lovely little bags of cabbage I find at the market. I've done several posts about them already and I think they're just one of the best, easiest and most economical ways to present a cabbage dish that anyone's invented. Thank you Cabbage Bag People.
Whenever I'm shopping and can't think of what to serve as a veg, I always toss a bag or two of the cabbage into my cart. I know something will come to me, or I will find something out there in the world of Indian food that applies. I'm never disappointed.
The other afternoon I wanted something fast and nourishing for lunch. What's in the fridge? Cabbage of course but how to make it different. How to Dal it up..so to speak. (Rimshot goes here)
This is a simple and tasty way to do cabbage it only takes a slight bit of prep and that of course involves the dal.
No one wants to break their fillings on rocks or stones or hard crunchy dal so, at least two hours before you plan on cooking, soak 1/4 cup of moong dal in 3 cups of boiling water. Take it off the stove and just let it luxuriate till you're ready for it. Give it a magazine, whatever.
The dish itself is simple and takes almost no time once the dal has been soaked.
1.) In a deep skillet or Karhai heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot add in
2.) 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
3.) 2 tsp of cumin seeds
Cover your pan until you hear the mustard seeds start to pop. Then add:
4.) 8 curry leaves, fresh or frozen
5.) 2 dried red chilies and
6.) the softened moong dal
Stir fry all of this together for about 5 minutes on a low heat

Then add:
7.) 1/4 tsp of turmeric and
8.) one of those 8oz bags of pre-shredded cabbage
Continue to stir fry all of this over a low heat until the cabbage is softened, about 10 minutes or so. Remember to keep it moving. No sticking or loitering in the pan is allowed.

9.) When your cabbage is soft and tender add a bit of salt to taste and finally stir in some chopped fresh cilantro and serve.
I must admit, I've become a freak for these little bags of cabbage, especially when I'm under the gun with a script. Whoever got the idea to package them this way was a genius. They're easier than grating a whole head of cabbage, they're fresh and there's no waste, and dishes made from them can turn up on the table in no time flat. What's not to like about that?

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