Mum’s Simply Sautéed Spiced Indian Cabbage and Fennel

Spiced Cabbage and Fennel (03) by MeetaK

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?

Bollywood Cooking_1 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.

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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. Meeta Cabbage

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
Canola oil


  1. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add mustard and cumin seeds and allow to sauté for 30 seconds until they begin to pop and become fragrant.
  3. Add fennel and onion slices and sauté for 5-8 minutes, then add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder.
  4. 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.
  5. Sprinkle with garam masala, toss well and serve hot, with tortillas or Indian flatbreads.

 Goes well with:

Food Guide Tips – Ingredient DiscoveryThe Food Guide_1

- Fennel

- Mustard seeds

- Cumin seeds

- Turmeric powder

- Garam masala 




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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 MM-Spring Cakesthe 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 ;-).

Come celebrate with me for my last mingle. I would love you all to come over for a celebration of Spring Cakes for this Monthly Mingle. Hope to see you there!


More Bollywood Cooking from WFLH:

AchaariAloo 02 framed OkraIndian 02 framed PaneerDoPiazza01

Aachari Alu Potatoes in Mango Chutney Sauce

Spicy Okra with Onions

Paneer Do Piaza


Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:

When a Beautiful Hike Can Go Wrong written by Manisha



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2009 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. Cabbage looks delicious, simple and easy dish, no matter how hard I try can never get the same taste as mom's food :)

  2. Hee hee. Of course mum has to have a better cabbage dish for her own daughter. I've never not liked cabbage, I think. I don't know why kids don't! I don't even think it stinks or anything. (As long as it's served hot-- that's my only thing. :) So with that I say this looks fantastic!

  3. YUM! Gorgeous photo. Simple and yummy stir fry Cabbage dish, lovely. Enjoy! :)

    I can send you the Sun and loads of yellow Pollen along with him too, any takers in Germany? :D

  4. Simply delicious! A great combination of flavors!



  5. I am one f those who love cabbage ! I make a simple Maharashtrian version. Will try this too! Thank U!

  6. I love cabbage however it must be well dressed. This dish looks yummy I love all those spices. Have to try it :) thanks for sharing

  7. good luck with the move, Meeta! I'm also moving in a couple of weeks, the same week of my final exams.
    I hope there are good Indian restaurants where I am going - I don't know what I would do without Chicken Saag and naan :)

  8. You make even the cabbage look so good:-) I always loved cabbage. I make it this way, but fennel is such a wonderful thing add to it. I can imagine the flavor..

  9. This looks comforting and yummy!

  10. Oh my gosh, you are definitely organized. There is no other explanation why you can still continue to cook, take pics and blog all in the midst of a move!

  11. Love the simplicity of the dish...great for the coming Summer. Great picture.

  12. This dish has my Irish parts and my German parts very excited! I can't wait to try it!

  13. I love cabbage made only this way. I hate the way it smells :|

  14. That's a lovely recipe and so delicious.

  15. yes this is definitely bookmarked for me to try in the future. i once had a cabbage "salad" at an indian place, and maybe this is it. i'm loving all your pictures. so clean!

  16. Thanks for posting this recipe. This is my favorite way to eat cabbage. I eat this at a local Indian cuisine. I could just eat this cabbage dish and rice all on its own and be totally satisfy.

  17. This definitely looks delicious! I love all sorts of veggie recipes to spice up any kind of vegetable and this is perfect!

  18. thank you so much for all your comments. this indeed is an exquisite way to prepare cabbage - simple yet it excels in flavor. even those of us who are less fond of the vegetable will like it this way!

  19. dear meeta, there's something for you at jugalbandi. congrats!!

  20. Hi Meeta, Congrats on the win at Click!:-) Caught this recipe too now, and I love it.

  21. thanks for the recipe meeta... i love the simplicity of the dish. Good luck with the move... when is the moving date?

  22. Cabbage and fennel sounds like a gorgeous combination-- unusual too, but I can see how they would really complement each other.

  23. thank you everyone! fennel and cabbage is not your usual combination - true but that is what i love about my mum she is anything but the usual!

  24. i have some cabbage in my fridge right now. this is an idea...fennel, too. great dish here..i like curried cabbage as well, but these flavors blend well together!

  25. I love making Indian inspired dishes, however when it comes to veggies, all I ever make is the dal. Thanks for the recipe, I can't wait to try it.

    Sascha Bush

  26. A lovely idea for a spring special occasion cake! This bright sunny cake with stunning red peonies and butterflies would make anyone smile. Why not bake and decorate just the top tier for a great Mother's Day gift for mom?

  27. I'm making this for lunch today. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

  28. Thanks for all the comments.

    Gavin, I am sure it will taste great - wish you all the best and come back and tell me how it went!

  29. Looking forward to trying this. Thanks for posting.


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