Indian-style fried rice with cabbage

In the unlikely event you read my last post on cabbage pasta and – even less likely – actually made it, you now have half a head of cabbage left over in your fridge. So, in case you’re wondering what to do with it, here’s an idea: Indian-style fried rice. In many ways, the pasta and fried rice are quite similar. Both are great ways to mop up leftover food, in today’s case both cabbage and old cooked rice. Both involve caramelizing the cabbage. And both are completely unremarkable and run-of-the-mill in their respective cuisines, but feature a ‘secret ingredient’ that lifts them above the ordinary. The pasta had anchovies; this one involves asafoetida, or hing as it is known in India. Usually, given its potency, hing is sparingly used lest it overwhelm the dish. Here, though, hing is the star and you really want its smell and flavor to come through.

If you cook a lot of Indian food you probably already have hing on hand. If not, you should be able to find it at your local Indian store. Note that while this dish is perfect for those occasions when nothing else comes to mind (an after-school snack is how I remember it), it does need a bit of foresight. Or the lucky fortune of having cooked rice sitting in your fridge (you never want to make fried rice with freshly cooked rice!).

Indian-style fried rice with cabbage
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • ½ head cabbage, shredded
  • 3 cups cooked rice, preferably basmati
  • 2 tbsp canola or other neutral oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp hing
  • 3-4 green chillies (I use Thai) cut in half
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro for garnish
  1. Heat oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Add mustard seeds and fry until the seeds start to pop. Then add chillies and hing. Fry 10 seconds or so and stir in the cabbage.
  2. Add half each of the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, and 1 tsp salt and mix. Turn up the heat to high and fry the cabbage, stirring often, until it starts to caramelize.
  3. Once the cabbage is done, turn down the heat to medium high and stir in the rice. Add the remaining turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli powder and 1 tsp of salt and mix well. Keep stirring until the rice is heated through. Taste for salt.
  4. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

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