Everyone keeps telling me how organized we are with the prep-work for the move and how far we have already gotten. How come then do I not feel like we are organized and why is it that every time I think I have been good packing boxes and sorting out several items, I am bombarded with another 10 to dos?
Currently I often feel like a chicken without a head - running in every direction trying to make sure everything on our list is covered. To everyone else I appear to have everything under control - appearances can be deceptive!
Usually when I am feeling a little low or need a bit of motivation, I will go either into the kitchen and tinker around with a few ingredients or up to my photo studio and play around with the camera. I am not finding any time for that right now, making me a bit of a nervy person to be around.
Instead I try to console myself with simple food my mum used to cook for me. It pacifies me and somehow the memories ground me enough to continue - another few boxes!
This particular dish has a story behind it. As our school back in Doha would end around 1:30 PM we usually would have lunch waiting for us when we got home. However, on the days I had practice, mum often packed lunch for me. One day one of my friends brought raw shredded cabbage with some kind of vinaigrette in her packed lunch. I cannot pinpoint the reason, but the cabbage simple made my mouth water endlessly. I went home and told my mother about the cabbage, to which she gave me a rather odd look. She did not know many girls who discovered their passion for cabbage at 16?
Mum being mum, was not going to pack any raw cabbage for her daughter. Instead, the next time I had practice I was pleasantly surprised by her take on cabbage. Simply sautéed in aromatic Indian spices with the addition of sliced fennel, the cabbage was more than I had imagined. Accompanying the cabbage and fennel were baked chicken cubes and two whole wheat tortillas. Yes - my mother could pack awesome lunches.
A few nights ago it was exactly this meal I re-created for us after a marathon session of sorting out and packing all my seasonal decoration. There are no frills about this dish, nothing eccentric and no fancy cooking, just cabbage, fennel, a few spices and a lot of happy memories. But all those who have tried this spiced Indian cabbage fell in love with it. I think you will too.
Simply Sautéed Spiced Indian Cabbage and Fennel
Printable version of recipe here.
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 green/red chili, chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
Salt and pepper
- Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add mustard and cumin seeds and allow to sauté for 30 seconds until they begin to pop and become fragrant.
- Add fennel and onion slices and sauté for 5-8 minutes, then add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder.
- Pile shredded cabbage into pan, cook covered for approx.15 minutes, or until cabbage has cooked down. Stir often to avoid vegetables sticking to the pan. Add chili then reduce heat to medium-low, and cook covered for a further 20 to 25 minutes. The vegetables should be slightly golden and caramelized.
- Sprinkle with garam masala, toss well and serve hot, with tortillas or Indian flatbreads.
Goes well with:
- Creamy chicken curries like this butter chicken or simply baked lime chicken
- Rich lentil dishes like these creamy black lentils or coconut red lentils
Food Guide Tips – Ingredient Discovery
It's simple, quick and satisfying. There is no glorifying the recipe here but fact is the combination of cabbage and fennel is outrageously good. The sweetness of caramelized vegetables plays off the rich aromas of the Indian spices extremely well. Although cabbage is not everyone's darling, served this way both Tom and Soeren were surprised to discover that it can be quite delicious and very satisfying.
I am looking forward to my mum coming out to visit in a few weeks. Food always tastes better when mum prepares it ;-).
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