Recipe: Kerala Cabbage Coconut Coleslaw From the Kitchen Window column
NPR logo Kerala Cabbage Coconut Coleslaw

Kerala Cabbage Coconut Coleslaw

My mom would whip up this wilted salad when unexpected guests showed up at the dinner table. One of the most simple yet flavorful salads, it gets its oomph from a combination of fresh grated coconut, sharp mustard and earthy cumin seeds.

Visi Tilak for NPR
Kerala Cabbage Coconut Coleslaw
Visi Tilak for NPR

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons sunflower seed oil

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 pinch asafetida powder

5 curry leaves roughly torn up*

1 medium dried red chili pepper, broken into 3 to 4 pieces

1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (can substitute store-bought unsweetened grated coconut)

4 cups shredded cabbage**

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1/2 cup roasted salted cashews

Heat the sunflower and coconut oils in a wok, add the cumin and mustard seeds; when the seeds start popping, turn off the heat. Add the asafetida powder, torn curry leaves and red chili pepper and let them sizzle. Add the freshly shredded coconut to the hot oil and lightly toast. Once the coconut stops sizzling, about 2 minutes, add the cabbage and salt and toss gently. The cabbage will wilt lightly on the outside, yet maintain its crunch and freshness on the inside. Garnish with cilantro and cashews.

*Available at any Indian store, in the fresh produce section

**Store-bought shredded cabbage does not work very well in this recipe