cabbage poriyal

cOOked CabbAGe STINKS.
Cabbage tastes WEirD.

That’s what I love about cyberspace. You can say what you want without having to see all those folks rolling their eyes at you.

Ever since I was a kid, I hated cabbage – the smell, the taste, the texture. I dreaded those days when one of my neighbours would cook cabbage (or cauliflower). As I walked home after getting off the school bus on the main road, I felt the “aroma” getting stronger and stronger. :(

It’s amazing how many people love cabbage. If you are a south Indian there’s no escape from it at relatives’ homes.

My heart sank when, despite my protestations, gobs of smelly yellow mush were shovelled on my plate. “You don’t like cabbage? Try MY cabbage, you’ll love it”, they would say.

“No, thank you”, was always dismissed with more shovels of smelly yellow mush. :bruised: My mom hated cabbage, and no one forced her to eat it. But if you’re a kid, you can’t escape those damn cabbage sermons. :notlisten

Well, guess what, I’m all grownup and ancient now, and I still don’t love cabbage. Plus, I’m not the only one who thinks it stinks. I found that out when I tried to get and was told that it had already been taken. :cool:

Fortunately, my wonderful mom never cooked cabbage (or eggplant or green beans). :love:

Jai, poor thing, ate lots of cabbage (and eggplant and green beans) growing up.
Even he cannot say it doesn’t reek without suffering from cognitive dissonance.

He’s kinda neutral towards it, and the only way both of us enjoy cabbage is as cole slaw (minus the mayo), especially if it is made with the milder Napa (Chinese) cabbage.

Recently, when our friend S made some cabbage poriyal while visiting, I realised that I didn’t hate cabbage any more. That’s because I’m no longer forced to eat it. I can negotiate a relationship with cabbage on my own terms.

Our cabbage rules:

1. Raw cabbage is best (in salads and cole slaw).

2. If you have to cook it, the less cooked, the better.

3. Cook it covered on medium flame and leave it alone. Don’t poke and prod it to the point that it launches into skunk mode.

4. Cabbage needs distractions – something with an extra flavour or texture dimension. Peas, raisins, nuts, etc. work well for this purpose.

After S left, we made his Cabbage Stir-fry again, with a couple of minor changes. It was nowhere close to the smelly yellow mush from my childhood. It actually paired well with lime rice and some pickle. Do I love cabbage? Not yet. But I’m getting there.


4-5 cups finely chopped cabbage
1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed peas
2 tsps oil (we used light sesame oil)
3 tablespoons grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
3 finely chopped green chillies
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
5-6 curry leaves
salt to taste

To garnish
1 tsp lime juice
2 tsps coconut oil
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

1. Heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds and urad dal. When the seeds pop, add the green chillies, curry leaves and coconut. Stir for a few seconds.

2. Add the cabbage along with salt. (1/4 tsp turmeric powder can be added as well.) Be careful while adding the salt, as the cabbage cooks down a lot. Also add the peas. If using frozen, thaw and heat in the microwave, and add 2 minutes from the end.

3. Stir, cover and cook on a medium flame until the cabbage softens, but still retains some crunch.

4. Garnish with lime juice, coconut oil and cilantro.

After taking a picture, I tasted it and realised it was missing some oomph. In Bombay, one would say, “This needs some dum in the bum.”

In went 1/3 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds. Now, we’re talkin’.

Cabbage and Peas Poriyal with Pumpkin Seeds

That’s what most people would call this. I call this dish “Pumpkin Seeds Surrounded by Cabbage and Peas.” They add crunch and help distract from the cabbage. :dance:

This goes to Marta, the gorgeous Italian in the US who is hosting Fresh Produce of the month: Squash.

All about cabbages, their nutritional value and history

- B.


Filed Under: , , , , , , ,



  1. chemcookit says:

    Bee, your post really cracked me up! I guess I was never forced to eat any mushy cabbage or cauliflower and never developed any strong feelings against those vegetables, which I actually like – exactly as you say, raw, or sauteed with some other things. :) Never tried with pumpkin seeds, though! This is such a great idea :) And thanks a lot for taking part to the event!

  2. Nags says:

    hahaha.. wow! thats a lot of ‘cabbage is yuck’ faces :) you should try cabbage thoran then.. it doesnt stink at all and its yummy, my fave thoran!

  3. sia says:

    this is exactly how i make cabbage palya minus pumpkin seeds. gimme cabbage anytime of the day and i am too happy to eat it… and oh for heaven’s sake stop making that face :tongue:

  4. Miri says:

    This is the only way I like cabbage and discovered it after I started cooking!
    Steam cooked cabbage, just a bit crunchy, retaining it’s original colour with no turmeric making it a horrible yellow – sprinkled with coconut on top and lots of chana dal and urad dal for the crunchy bits…..

    Wait…didn’t I post all this before on a porial post…guess I just need a space and a kindred soul posting about their cabbage dislike!

  5. sunita says:

    I would hate mushy yellow cabbage too…I usually make a stir fry with peas, and carrots and potatoes and garnish with coriander(…I do add a pinch of turmeric, but that’s it)…and we love it…they don’t transform into a heap of mush at all…I also add it to stir fried noodles.

  6. Srivalli says:

    hhahah..thats a funny one bee…and hey you forgot to mention radish!…you know what…I can’t think of radish and sambar without remembering you!.. :laugh:

  7. shilpa says:

    Hey Bee, try cabbage kosambir you may like it ;) . I too had a strong hatred for cabbage while growing up. These days, I buy it whenever I see it :embarrass.

    I have to try with toasted pumpkin seeds sometime. Looks like a great idea.

  8. Chennette says:

    Sigh. I want us to be friends Bee, but I like cabbage. Even if it is mushy I can enjoy it. This looks good.

  9. richa says:

    wow! that is some hate towards poor cabbage, which, according to the “latest” research is full of nutrition……

  10. shankari says:

    I love cabbage, but it shd be stir fried like you made it. I love it with thayir saadam :) Toasted pumpkin seeds is a nice touch. I may try peanuts next time

  11. Simona says:

    Lovely, as usual. I also belong to the cabbage-loving party. I have never had it with peas, I have to say.

  12. musical says:

    I love cabbage, crunchy or mushy! i just love it :-D

  13. Saffron says:

    Hi there! I was blog-hopping and landed on your site. You’ve got a wonderful blog/site going here….very entertaining and informative. I’ve had a wonderful time reading/catching up with your posts.

    cabbage poriyal looks fantastic…and yes, I do love cabbage.

    - saffron

    ps. is available, now that you are a convert!!!

  14. Suganya says:

    There is a way to make non-stinky cabbage. I will post about it someday in my blog. Till then enjoy your new found

  15. Happy Cook says:

    I never cook cabbage for the reason that it stinks.

  16. Latha says:

    This needs some dum in the bum :laugh:

    I hear u bee! I hate overcooked or cooked cabbage – like it with some crunch too.. adding coconut oil is new to me! And those seeds – sounds yumm! Though i must say, i love all the cabbage curries and stuff that we make at home.. love it especially stir fried with some hakka noddles..and cabbage vadas – oh yumm! now thats sinful!

  17. katy says:

    i am obviously a bizarre person because i think this looks delicious!

  18. sagari says:

    love the idea of adding pumpkin seeds Bee ,it really distracts out mind from chewing cabbbage

  19. Manasi says:

    :laugh: Funny gal!!
    I like cabbage a lot ! U shud try the cabbage I make ;)

  20. Pooja says:

    I feel the same Bee – the less cabbage is cooked , it tastes better.

  21. Dhivya says:

    Hahaha! :rofl:

    You guyz are one of those v few who can make even the usual cabbage curry luk so yummo! I luv cabbage and I have no problems having them any way! The funny thing is I made Cabbage rice for lunch and now am wondering how your face wud have been if you had been my neibhour! guess I know!

  22. bhavani says:

    hi bee

    glad to see that you and cabbage have worked out the differences in your relationship, and you can now be friends or acquaintances with the smelly yellow mush on your terms. :love:

    may your new found peace last ;;)

  23. Linda says:

    Bee, darling bee…

    All brassicas stink (but cabbage is my fav) ;)

  24. cynic says:

    how long does it take to go from an uneasy armistice to where you and cabbage are whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears while :bow: jai watches helplessly?

    if i squint real hard and look in a mirror, I can see why ‘pumpkin seeds surrounded by cabbage’ works – sort of… :bow:

  25. satya says:

    You have a knack of making mundane things in to an interesting read Bee.Love it.Adding a pinch of sugar makes cabbage less stinky.

  26. dhanggit says:

    hello bee, im glad to be back into blogging specially reading this kind of post..well just like you..i do agree that cabbage really stinks when they are over cooked..when i was a kid and my mom taught me how to cook..i remember she always insist on telling me when we do “sauté cabbage” dont cook them long.;they still need to be crunchy and it retains sweetness.;but my dad always insists that it should be overcook..coz he has no teeth strong enough to eat them :laugh: so in the end at home when we cook cabbage version for my dad and one version for the rest of the family ..thanks for this post gave me good childhood memories ;)

  27. Siri says:

    Oh No, One more Cabbage Hater.. :hammer:

    On the contrary, I love Cabbage. (That’s what I love about cyberspace. You can say what you want without having to see all those folks rolling their eyes at you. ;) )

    I can have it 24X7, with any combination, raw, cooked.. hehehe.. Loved the poriyal..!.. looks so inviting!.. :love: :love:

    ~ Siri :cool:

  28. Kaykat says:

    You really don’t like cabbage! I’ve read more than one post about your cabbage-phobia! :)

    The poriyal looks delicious, and the pumpkin seeds definitely add a great twist. And speaking of cabbage, we worked a tasty pumpkin and cabbage stew last night, I’ll blog about it in a couple of days.

  29. Anjali says:

    I don’t believe this! :rofl: You too brutus, but brutus is ancient now :D

  30. kribha says:

    Hmm… I’m a cabbage lover. I didn’t know that it was hated by so many people. My hubby loves white cabbage poriyal with green peas. He hates it when I add turmeric sometimes. Pictures look so good. If you don’t like it please pass it on to me. You will surely make me happy.

  31. Marina says:

    Cabbage, cooked or uncooked, is NO comparison in nastiness to southern US okra!!! Hated overcooked cabbage as a child, but raw or lightly stir-fried is yummy…

    My daughter just found a new recipe which asks for adding a pinch of baking soda to her bok choy. Can anyone tell us why?

    to retain the green colour. – b.

  32. Ramki says:

    Hi ,

    Am blogging your poriyal as a model recipe in the 1001 Tamilnadu Curries cookbook at

    Thanks for the recipe.

  33. sagu says:

    :bow: beauitful site i love your recipes !!! :bow:

  34. sushma says:

    I completely agree with you Bee i hate the stinkyness of cabbage but at the same time i like it too.. loved this recipe. i always avoid cooking cabbage i give that a stir fry.

  35. Vaishali says:

    That’s a funny post, Bee, but I am one of those who cannot have enough cabbage. I also much prefer it cooked to raw. Have you ever tried it in pakoras or mixed into adai batter? It’s delicious.

  36. sujata says:

    hi there! i was just looking for some interesting cabbage recipes to make today.saw ur site…man i have started hating cabbage now!.stinky…slimy..etc i dint know someone can hate cabbage so much. today i think i wont be making

  37. [...] I always associated cabbage with stink, grease and mush. Growing up, I hated it. Read that saga HERE. [...]

rss email

  • Archives

  • Categories