Cabbage Poriyal, also known as Cabbage Thoran is a South Indian style stir-fried cabbage recipe. It's made by cooking cabbage with shredded coconut and a few basic spices. This delicious vegan recipe gets ready in just 20 minutes.
Thanks to my father's job in an Indian Government department – Border Roads Organization (BRO), we got the opportunity to live in a lot of remote, unexplored places across India, mostly near the Indian border areas. The days spent in those places were the best days of my life.
In their free time, the wives of all the BRO officers, who were from different regions of India used to share their food and recipes with each other. That’s the reason why my mother regularly cooks so many different dishes from all over the country.
Today's recipe, Cabbage poriyal, also known as Cabbage thoran is also one such dish that my mother learned from her South Indian friends in BRO.
It's a very easy South Indian style stir-fried cabbage recipe that gets ready in less than 30 minutes.
What is Poriyal/ Thoran?
Poriyal is a Tamil word that means a stir-fried or sautéed vegetable dish. In Kerala, it’s called thoran.
You can make it with a lot of other vegetables like beetroot poriyal, french beans poriyal, potato poriyal, etc.
What goes in cabbage poriyal (cabbage thoran)?
To make cabbage poriyal, you will need the ingredients shown below:
Ingredient notes and substitute suggestions
- Coconut: Use shredded fresh coconut. It's a key ingredient in this dish which makes it different from a regular stir-fried cabbage recipe.
- Onion: You can also use shallots.
- Curry leaves: Fresh curry leaves are the best but, if you can't find them dried or frozen ones can be used too.
- Chana dal and urad dal: These are different types of lentils that add a crunch to poriyal. You can skip one of them if you don't have both. You can also soak chana dal in water for a few minutes before adding it to the dish to make it less crunchy. I don't do that because I enjoy crunchy dal in this dish.
- Asafoetida: Also known as hing, it's a very strong and pungent spice, and generally only around a pinch of it is used in a recipe. You can find it easily in the spice section of any Indian grocery store or online too. If you are on a gluten-free diet, make sure to use gluten-free asafoetida as some brands add flour to it while processing. This spice not only enhances the aroma and flavor of a dish but also helps in easy digestion.
- Cooking oil: Poriyal tastes the best if cooked in coconut oil. However, if you don't like the taste of coconut oil, use any other cooking oil of choice.
How to make (Step by step instructions)?
Step 1: Heat oil in a cooking pot. Break dried red chilies into 2-3 pieces and add to the oil along with urad dal, chana dal, and mustard seeds. Saute for about 1-2 minutes or until the ingredients become fragrant. Add asafoetida and curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds.
Step 2: Add chopped onion and green chilies.
Step 3: Cook until the onion turns translucent.
Step 4: Add turmeric powder.
Step 5: Saute for a few seconds.
Step 6: Add shredded cabbage.
Steps 7 and 8: Add salt and mix
Step 9: Stir fry on medium heat until the cabbage gets cooked but is still crunchy.
Step 10: Add shredded coconut.
Step 11: Mix and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Step 12: Add chopped cilantro. Mix.
Your delicious South Indian-style cabbage fry is ready to be served!
Traditionally it's served hot or warm as a side dish with steamed rice and sambhar, rasam, or a dal like moong dal or chana dal.
If you want, you can also serve it with roti/ paratha or any other Indian bread.
How to store?
To store, allow it to reach room temperature then transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for 2-3 days.
Recipe tips and tricks
- Don't overcook cabbage, it should remain slightly crunchy.
- To reduce cooking time, finely shred the cabbage.
- If you don't have fresh coconut, soak the dried coconut in some coconut milk or regular milk (if not vegan), for a few hours. Use it in any recipe that asks for fresh coconut. I have learned this tip from my mother and it really works.
- Asafoetida gets burned very easily so add it only once the lentils, dried red chilies, and mustard seeds become fragrant.
Frequently asked questions
Roasted lentils add a crunch to this dish and also give it a nutty flavor which makes thoran even more delicious.
Though regular green cabbage is a better choice for thoran, if you don't have that purple cabbage can be used too.
Coconut is a key ingredient in this dish and it makes this dish taste amazing. However, if you don't like coconut at all and want to skip it, you can.
Other easy South Indian recipes
Though I am from North India, South Indian food is loved by everyone in my family and is cooked quite often.
If you also like South Indian food, and want to try making some easy South Indian dishes at home then don't miss checking the following links:
More easy cabbage recipes
Looking for more ways of eating cabbage? Don't miss to check the following easy cabbage recipes:
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Cabbage Poriyal (Cabbage thoran)
- Cooking pot/ wok
- 4 cups finely shredded cabbage
- 1 cup freshly grated coconut
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- 1-2 green chilies chopped
- 5-6 curry leaves
- ½ tablespoon uard dal split & skinned black lentil
- ½ tablespoon chana dal split and skinned Bengal gram
- 1-2 dried red chilies broken into 2-3 pieces each
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ⅛ teaspoon Asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil/ any cooking oil of choice
- Heat oil in a pot. Add dried red chilies, urad dal, chana dal, and mustard seeds. Saute for about 1-2 minutes or until they become fragrant.
- Add asafoetida and curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds.
- Add chopped onion and green chilies, Cook until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add turmeric powder and saute for a few seconds.
- Next, add finely shredded cabbage and salt. Cook uncovered for around 8-9 minutes on medium flame or until the cabbage is cooked but still crunchy. Keep on stirring in between.
- Add shredded coconut, mix and then switch off the stove.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice, roti, or paratha.
- Don't overcook the cabbage, it should remain slightly crunchy.
- Finely shred cabbage to reduce the cooking time.
- Poriyal tastes the best if cooked in coconut oil. However, if you don't like the taste of coconut oil, use any other oil of choice.
- More easy recipe tips and tricks are given within the post above, please follow them to make this recipe.
You mention mustard leaves in point 2.? It's not in the ingredients list??
Sorry Aditi, that was a typo error. I meant curry leaves not mustard leaves so corrected it now. Thanks for pointing that out.
Like you I like cabbage poriyan just stir fried and not over cooked. This is such a quick dish to make when you are in a rush.
I love the simplicity of this dish, it would go well with
Rasam and rice . I think you could even use it as a sandwich filling .
Thanks Nayna. Using it as a sandwich filling is also a great idea, I will try.
I'm not a huge fan of cabbage especially if its overcooked. Poriyal with all the flavors from onion, curry leaves and coconut makes it sound so flavorful.
Thanks, Mayuri. I agree with you, cabbage never tastes good if over cooked.