Spices and Seasons – Crunchy Red Cabbage Stir Fry


What a difference a few weeks make, actually two weeks to be specific. It seems like the veggie fairy has waived her magic wand all over the garden and we are bursting with produce. This week we have had beets, kale, tomatoes and a few lovely heads of red cabbage.


The red cabbage is vivid and colorful and has a nice crunch and holds out better in some dishes that the green cabbage. One of my favorite ways to cook it, is in this very simple stir fry that can add character to your summer table without too much fuss or added calories. In fact, it can take the place of traditional coleslaw without much effort and it travels well since it does not have any mayonnaise, thereby making it a great option for spice lovers, vegans and anyone avoiding gluten as well. I like to finish off with some crunchy coarsely ground peanuts, you can skip the peanuts or substitute this with any nut of your choice. I have sometimes tried this with pistachios which add another layer of color.


The palate of spices used in this recipe is from Southern India, and you will enjoy the nutty crunch of toasted lentils with the bite of ginger in this recipe. This is a very basic whole spice combination, that I use for almost everything, I use it for fresh green beans, tender broccoli and even kale. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

Spices and Seasons – Crunchy Red Cabbage Stir Fry

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8

A simple and crunchy stir-fry that pairs whole spices, lentils, red cabbage and coarsely ground peanuts.


  • 11/2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 11/2 tablespoons very finely chopped ginger (some texture is preferred in this recipe, so I would avoid using ginger paste)
  • 8-10 curry leaves (optional, but they add a nice flavor)
  • 11/2 teaspoons split yellow or white lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups of finely shredded red cabbage (about ¾ pounds)
  • 11/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup coarsely ground raw, unsalted peanuts


  1. Heat the oil and add in the black mustard seeds and wait until the seeds begin to crackle.
  2. Add in the ginger and sauté well.
  3. Add in the curry leaves (if using) and add in the lentils and stir fry until the lentils turn golden brown.
  4. Stir in the cabbage and gently cook for about 5 minutes, until the cabbage softens and begins to wilt.
  5. Add in the red pepper flakes and the salt and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Squeeze in the lime juice and stir in the cilantro and the peanuts.
  7. Depending on your preference, the cabbage can be served immediately or set aside and served at room temperature.
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About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years. Rinku is also the author of the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook, that highlights and offers many simple Indian recipes off the beaten path. Her second cookbook, Spices and Seasons, uses the approach in this column and marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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