Browned Cabbage with Fennel and Onions

  • 1 medium head green cabbage
  • 2 1/2 medium onions
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A 1 1/2 piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tomato or a few Tbsp. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 fresh long hot chili (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Cut cabbage into quarters and shred as thinly as possible.  Peel two of the onions and cut them in half lengthwise, then slice into thin half circles.

Heat 5 Tbsp. of the oil in a wide heavy-bottomed over medium heat and add fenugreek, cumin, mustard, and fennel seeds.  As the seeds start sizzling and changing color (about 10 seconds), put in sliced onions.  Fry over medium heat for about 3 minutes, then add the shredded cabbage. Cook over fairly low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The cabbage and onion will brown slightly.

Meanwhile, peel and coarsely chop the remaining 1/2 onion, the garlic and the ginger. Put these and the tomato/tomato sauce into a blender.  Blend to a paste.

In a skillet, heat the remaining 3 Tbsp. of oil.  Add the paste from the blender, turmeric and thinly sliced chile.  Fry, stirring all the time, for 8-10 minutes.  If necessary add 1 tsp. warm water at a time to prevent sticking.  When the cabbage has cooked 30 minutes, add this fried paste to the pot, along with the salt, garam masala, and lemon juice.  Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.

Adapted from Spice Kitchen by Madhur Jaffrey.