This gorgeous Sri Lankan vegetable side dish is the dish that made me love both leek and cabbage! It magically transforms the everyday common leek and cabbage a real star of a dish. The vegetables are gently stir-fried with onion, chilies and curry leaves, tossed with fresh or desiccated grated coconut, and livened up with a squeeze of lime. Quick to make and utterly delicious! I love it!
Any green veg can be used in this dish (e.g. spring onion, baby leek, other types of cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower), except for spinach and pak choi and other vegetables with high water content. This dish goes really well with fish, or with coconut dal (recipe coming soon) for a vegetarian version.
Even if you can’t find curry leaves, it’s worth giving this dish a go as the flavour combinations are so good. Enjoy!
This my entry for the Eating with the Seasons: January.
Varar – Sri Lankan cabbage and
leek with coconut
SOURCE: Jasmine’s recipe
PREPARATION TIME: 10 – 15 min
COOKING TIME: 5 – 10 min
CUISINE: Sri Lankan
SERVES: 3 – 4 as a side dish
a little vegetable oil
1/2 medium to large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 – 3 green chilies (Jasmine uses finger chilies)
a handful of (preferably fresh) curry leaves
a little salt
1 tsp tempering spices (a mixture of brown/black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds – see Sri Lankan spices for recipe)
a pinch of turmeric
2 medium leeks, shredded finely
a handful of desiccated coconut
fresh lime juice to taste
1/2 medium cabbage, shredded finely
Heat the oil in a wok (or frying pan) and add onion, chilies curry leaves and a little salt. Stir and cook until the onion is soft.
Now add the tempering spices and turmeric. Stir.
Add cabbage and leek and stir for a few minutes, until the cabbage is slightly soft but still crunchy. Do not overcook the vegetables! That’s the secret behind this dish.
When the veg is done, add desiccated coconut and stir for a minute or so.
Just before serving, add lime juice and some salt if needed. Enjoy!
My other posts on Sri Lankan cooking:
The aroma of curry leaves. Sri Lankan cooking (Introduction)
Sri Lankan spices (including recipes for Sri Lankan garam masala, curry powder and more!)