Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Bengali-style cabbage with prawns or badakopi torkari

Right back to a bit more Bengali food now. This cabbage dish is a staple of Bengali cooking, and one I remember being forced to eat when I was small. I would assiduously pick out all the prawns (and eat them), have a tiny bit of cabbage and then declare that I'd 'finished'. I didn't get away with this that often. Happily I am now a big fan of cabbage in all its forms, from Savoy to the white stuff.

Traditionally Bengali vegetable dishes aren't often cooked with garlic or onions, and so this cabbage recipe uses a simple combination of ginger and whole cumin seeds. Adding prawns is optional, and if you want to keep things vegetarian, peas are a good substitute. And in fact, having both in there is fine too.

Recipe (enough for 4 as part of a larger meal):

1 white cabbage, washed and shredded
Large thumb-sized piece of ginger, squashed to a paste
1 dried bay leaf
1 piece of cinnamon/cassia bark
1 green chilli
2 cardamon pods, split
1-2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1-2 tblsp sunflower (or other plain) oil
Around 150g cooked prawns and/or a couple of handfuls of peas
1 tsp salt, or enough to season


Heat up the oil in a large-ish flat bottomed pan (ideally) and when it's hot, but not smoking, throw in the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamon. After a minute or two, add in the ginger and cumin seeds, and continue to stir over a medium heat for another couple of minutes. When the ginger is just starting to cook through and the seeds are slightly brown, put the cabbage in and stir everything really well. The residual water from washing the cabbage should provide enough liquid and steam to cook it. Once the cabbage has shrunk down a little, add the turmeric, salt, and green chilli (prick a couple of holes in it with a knife, so you get the flavour but not the heat), and stir well. Cook the cabbage for at least 15 minutes over a low heat with a lid on the pan- it should be completely tender and mildly yellow. Finally put in the prawns or the peas (defrosted if frozen), mix everything together and cook for a further 5 minutes until it's all heated through. Serve with rice or anything else Indian.

2 comments:

Senka I said...

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Jayanta Ghosh said...

I came across your blog while looking for some bengali food recipes and liked a lot. How amazing! I will keep an eye on your post.
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