Savoy Cabbage, Black Kale and Potato Subji

This comforting recipe for savoy cabbage curry with black kale and potato from Meera Sodha's celebrated Fresh India cookbook makes a wonderfully simple vegetarian main dish, perfect for a flavour-packed midweek meal.

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In Gujarat, cabbages and potatoes are near deities. In Lincolnshire, where they are the main crops, the same is true. I feel as though my bones, and the bones of my ancestors, are partly made up of these two vegetables. When you want something simple, not much beats a tangle of soft buttery cabbage with sweet caramelized onions and crisp potatoes, alongside a fierce pickle, yoghurt and chapattis (see page 288 of Fresh India).

Serves 4 to 6 as part of a main course


1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
15 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 large brown onion, halved and thinly sliced
800g baby new potatoes, quartered
200g savoy cabbage, finely shredded
200g black kale or cavolo nero, finely shredded
1¼ tsp salt
½ tsp chilli powder
¾ tsp ground turmeric

Essential kit

You will need: a pestle and mortar, and a large lidded frying pan.


Lightly grind the coriander and cumin seeds with a pestle and mortar. Put the oil into a large lidded frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add the curry leaves and mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the onion. Cook for around 10 minutes, until golden and sweet, stirring occasionally.

Add the crushed coriander and cumin, followed by the potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes, turning every now and then until crispy. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover with the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and no longer resist the point of a knife.

Finally, add the shredded cabbage and black kale to the pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the salt, chilli and turmeric, mix well, cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 4 minutes, or until the cabbage and black kale have wilted.

Serve with a fiery pickle, hot chapattis and a dollop of yoghurt, or alongside dal and rice.

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