Fried Cabbage

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a side dish

Appears in

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

By Bree Hutchins

Published 2013

  • About

Sri Lankans have a gift for turning ordinary ingredients into something quite extraordinary. Cabbage, for example (which I had always considered quite boring), when fried with turmeric, mustard seeds and fresh coconut, is to die for, especially when the cabbage is picked moments before it is cooked and is bursting with flavour. Mary didn’t add any freshly scraped coconut to her fried cabbage, as coconuts are not readily available in the area, but try adding a couple of handfuls just before you remove it from the stove.


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil*
  • ½ red onion*, thinly sliced
  • 2 dried long red chillies*, stalks removed and chopped
  • 8 cm ( inch) piece rampe (pandanus) leaf*, cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) pieces
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) cabbage, very finely shredded (almost grated)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • salt, to taste


Heat the coconut oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the onion, dried chillies, rampe, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds; cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are golden. Add the shredded cabbage and turmeric and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add 2 tablespoons water, stir well and cook for a further 3 minutes, or until the cabbage is soft. Taste and season with salt if needed. Serve with a main curry.