Cabbage thoran is a delicious vegetable side made for everyday meals in Kerala homes. It is also served at the traditional Onam sadya (a vegetarian feast) celebrated in the South Indian state of Kerala.
This simple recipe for cabbage thoran is made with stir-fried cabbage in coconut oil and topped with fresh grated coconut. It gets done in about 20 mins and pairs well with hot steamed white rice or Kerala matta rice.
Cabbage thoran is also called Cabbage Poriyal in Tamil.
There are some recipes where the simplicity of the vegetable or the main ingredient shines through without too many spices or too much cream or cheese taking it away from the vegetable. This Cabbage stir fry is one such vegetable side dish where just a handful of very basic ingredients are used.
The only few spices and aromatics that are used are mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chillies. The cabbage is the hero in this Kerala style cabbage thoran.
A few other thoran recipes
- Beetroot thoran
- Instant Pot Carrot and Green Beans thoran
- Achinga Payar throan / Yard long beans thoran
- Cherupayar thoran / mung beans thoran
Ingredients for Cabbage thoran
To make Cabbage thoran, you will need
- Cabbage - regular green cabbage is used in the traditional cabbage thoran recipe, but you can use purple cabbage also for a variation. Chop the cabbage finely with a knife or use a food processor for finely shredded cabbage.
- Coconut Oil - Most Kerala recipes use coconut oil and the distinctive taste of coconut oil makes the dish special. Coconut oil tastes best to give the cabbage thoran, the authentic taste. But if you are going to buy coconut oil just for this, use any neutral oil like avocado oil.
- Mustard seeds - Brown / black mustard seeds are used in most Indian recipes. Add them to hot oil and let them splutter before adding the cabbage or any other veggie to the pan. You can also add some urad dal along with the mustard seeds to add some crunch.
- Curry leaves - Use fresh curry leaves for best results.
- Onion - Onion is an optional ingredient in this recipe. I usually don't use onions when making cabbage thoran but it does give a little extra flavor to the recipe. Use red onions or pearl onions.
- Green Chilli - this is the only spice / heat element in this recipe. You can stir fry the green chilies along with the cabbage or grind it with the coconut to add to the cabbage.
- Turmeric - turmeric powder is a staple in almost all Indian recipes. Turmeric gives cabbage thoran the distinct yellow color.
- Coconut - fresh coconut that is grated is used to make Cabbage thoran. I use freshly frozen coconut in my recipe. This is available in most Indian / South East Asian / Asian stores in the frozen section.
If using freshly frozen shredded / grated coconut, thaw it or break off a piece from the bag. Microwave this in a bowl for 1 minute to 1 minute 30 secs, to warm it. Use warm coconut in this recipe, as it incorporates better into the vegetable. And if you are grinding it with chillies or pearl onions, then the coconut needs to be warm to grind well and not have its oil separate from the flesh.
- Crush some peeled pearl onions with cumin seeds and whole dried red chilies or red pepper flakes and add this to the cabbage when stir frying.
- Other vegetables like grated carrot or green peas can be added to the cabbage mixture to make a combo thoran recipe.
How to make Cabbage thoran
To make this very easy cabbage thoran, here are the detailed steps.
Heat coconut oil in a wide bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds, slit green chillies and curry leaves to the hot oil.
Add the cabbage, turmeric powder and sprinkle a little water. Cover and cook on low-medium heat, till cabbage is soft and cooked.
Add salt and stir well.
Microwave the thawed shredded coconut for 30 secs or so, till it becomes warm.
Add this to the cabbage mix in the pan and stir in well.
Remove from heat and serve hot with rice.
Cabbage Thoran - Kerala Style Cabbage with Coconut
- ½ medium sized green cabbage chopped / shredded, about 1 lb (5-6 cups when chopped)
- 2 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 4-5 thai green chillies use more or less for preferred heat level
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ cup grated coconut I use frozen coconut that is thawed
- salt to taste
Don't forget to check out Step-by-step instructions with photos in the body of the post above
- Heat coconut oil in a wide bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds, slit green chillies and curry leaves to the hot oil.
- Add the cabbage, turmeric powder and sprinkle a little water. Cover and cook on low-medium heat, till cabbage is soft and cooked.
- Add salt and stir well.
- Microwave the thawed shredded coconut for 30 secs or so, till it becomes warm. If using freshly grated coconut at room temperature, then you can skip this step and add it to the pan.
- Add this to the cabbage mix in the pan and stir in well.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with rice.