Spicy Yellow Indian Cabbage

Spicy Cabbage

Whenever I cook Indian food I tend to go a little bit overboard.  There will inevitably be at least two curries (one meat-based and one bean-based), a couple vegetable dishes, rice, several salads, and a chutney or two.

While I’m constantly experimenting and trying out new recipes, I’d consider no Indian spread complete without this  spicy cabbage dish.   It’s easy to make, inexpensive and people invariably go nuts over it.  I’ll confess to quite a few late night fridge raids for the express purpose of sneaking some spicy cabbage.  It’s really that good.


Spicy Cabbage 2

A mustard seed tadka provides the flavor base, to which garlic, turmeric and cayenne are adding along with a mountain of shredded cabbage.   It all cooks down to a vibrantly colored, glossy and flavorful side.

If you’re on the fence about trying this, perhaps I should plug the nutritional benefits to push you over the edge?  Cabbage is widely regarded as an excellent cancer preventing food and it’s paired with plenty of turmeric, arguably the best anti-inflammatory spice out there.  Eating healthy is easy when it tastes this good.

Spicy Cabbage 1


Spicy Yellow Indian Cabbage

This is one of those rare dishes that I like to be somewhat heavy on the oil. You can reduce the oil to 3-4 Tablespoons or so if you like, but you may need to add a bit of water along with the cabbage to get the right consistency.

Yield: 4-6 servings


* 1/3 cup oil
* 1-1/2 teaspoons yellow or brown mustard seeds
* 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
* 1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
* about 1-1/2 pounds cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


Heat the oil over high heat in a large skillet. When the oil starts to smoke, add the mustard seeds and immediately cover with a lid or a spatter screen. When the seeds begin to stop popping, carefully add in the garlic and turmeric (you may wish to remove the skillet momentarily from the heat to do this to help the oil cool down a bit faster to keep the seeds from burning) and lower the heat to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for a minute or two to soften the garlic.

Add the cabbage, salt, and cayenne and give the mixture a good stir to coat the cabbage in the oil and spices. Cover and cook until the cabbage is tender-crisp or completely soft, as desired.

Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Serve hot.

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14 Responses to “Spicy Yellow Indian Cabbage”

  1. #
    Emily K. @ Leaf Parade — April 16, 2013 at 9:11 am

    This comes at the perfect time — I have lately been such a crazy fiend for cabbage! And mustard is always my friend. Thanks!
    -Emily K.


    • Cate — April 17th, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

      I’m a total cabbage fan as well- it’s so underrated! Maybe sometime soon it’ll have a resurgence in popularity just like Brussels Sprouts :)


  2. #
    Barbara — April 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I have a huge head of cabbage in the fridge and now I know what I’m going to do with it!


    • Cate — April 17th, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

      Hope you like it!


  3. #
    Peggy Yehl — July 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Do you think this could be froze and reheated? Thinking this would be a great meal in middle of winter if it could. My girlfriend has been saying you need to make yellow cabbage like I used to get at the Indian restaurant – I’m like whats it called – she said I don’t know…. so glad I could find this just based on Indian and yellow. Thanks!


    • Cate — July 29th, 2013 @ 8:17 pm

      I’ve never tried freezing it before, but it’s worth a shot! I used to freeze cabbage soup all the time, so I would ~think~ it would work ok. Hope you and your gf like it :)


  4. #
    Andee — March 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I made this tonight as cabbage was on sale at the grocery store for 19 cents a pound!! So I bought two heads and figured I would find a recipe later. As I made it as a main dish and not a side, I added some potatoes. It was PERFECT. I am totally a fan!


    • Cate — March 17th, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

      So glad you liked it Andee! It’s one of my favorites too :)


  5. #
    Angela — October 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    This was sooooo good. I used refined organic coconut oil for the oil (obviously). So easy! My boyfriend and tween boy loved it.


    • Cate — November 2nd, 2014 @ 5:49 pm

      So glad you liked it Angela… it’s one of my favorites!


  6. #
    Salma — July 18, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I was searching for an Indonesian cabbage recipe but found yours and it looks simple but tasty so I will try it but am going to use Mustard Oil and add onion. I like your heavy handed use of Turmeric! This kind of side dish freezes fine, by the way.


  7. #
    William R. Jones — October 22, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I couldn’t really wrap my head around cabbage and garlic but the Indians have been making great food for centuries. YUM! Nothing i could add to it to improve. Trying to add more cabbage and turmeric to my diet and this made it very easy. TY!


  8. #
    Nick — January 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    How about adding a tea spoon each of cumin and coriander powder, Also you could throw in a small finely chopped onion and tomato to enhance the flavor!


  9. #
    Cynthia — August 27, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Made this tonight, loved it. Next time I’m going to sub kohlrabi for the cabbage, I think that would be good also!


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