Motaikose Poduthuval (Cabbage Stir Fry)

A poduthuval is basically a stir fry garnished with grated coconut. Therefore, one can use any of several vegetables – cabbage, snake gourd, beetroot, French beans…. The method of preparation remains the same, only the vegetable varies. These dishes are very mildly spiced, but very tasty. I therefore prefer to pair them with a spicy wet dish.
Poduthuvals are a speciality of Palakkad. I cannot imagine celebrating the two major festivals of the state – Vishu and Onam – without a poduthuval. But in households across Kerala, these dishes are made at least once a week. They are very simple to prepare, but the end result is always lip-smackingly tasty.

Motaikose Poduthuval

4 tightly packed cups of chopped cabbage
7 shallots or 1 medium sized large onion, sliced
2 green chilis, chopped or 2 dried red chilis, each broken into 2 pieces
2 sprigs curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1 tsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
4 tbsp grated coconut
Salt to taste
Remove the top leaves of the cabbage and chop finely
Rinse thoroughly
Transfer to a steamer
Steam for about 10-12 minutes for till the cabbage is done but still crunchy
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the split black lentils
(Add red chilis, if using)
Sauté on low flame till the lentils are golden brown
Add the onions
(Add green chilis, if using)
Add curry leaves, turmeric powder and asafoetida
Mix well and sauté for a minute
Finally, add the steamed cabbage and mix well
Since the cabbage has already been steamed, it need not be cooked again
Just mix well so that the masala (onion, etc.) and the cabbage are well mixed
Remove from flame
Garnish with grated coconut, and optionally chopped coriander leaves
Serve hot with red/brown rice and a wet dish like sambar
Or with Indian flat breads

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