Speedy Keralan Savoy Cabbage & Coconut Curry Recipe | Abel & Cole

Speedy Keralan Savoy Cabbage & Coconut Curry

Cooking time
Serves2 people
Speedy Keralan Savoy Cabbage & Coconut Curry

An Abel & Cole take on the traditional Keralan dish thoran, a dry cabbage curry fried in rich and fiery spices. Ours is finished with a little sweet coconut cream, a handful of coriander leaves and fluffy brown basmati rice.

2 ratings
layout 2 comments


  • 150g brown basmati rice
  • 1 Savoy cabbage
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 carrots
  • A thumb of ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeño chilli
  • A handful of coriander
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 50g coconut cream
  • 1 lime
  • 300ml boiling water
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil

Prep: 15 mins | Cook: 25 mins

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1. Tip the rice into a bowl, cover with cold water and whisk for 1-2 mins till the water goes cloudy. Drain, rinse and tip into a small pan. Add 300ml boiling water and a pinch of salt. Pop on a lid, bring to the boil then turn the heat down very low. Gently simmer for 25 mins till all the water is absorbed, then take off the heat and leave to steam in the pan, lid on. This'll keep the rice nice and warm.
2. While the rice cooks, trim the root off the cabbage and finely shred the leaves. Tumble them into a bowl and set aside. Peel and thinly slice the red onions. Scrub the carrots and thinly slice them into batons (no need to peel the carrots unless you want to).
3. Make the curry paste. Peel the ginger and garlic and pop them in a food processor. Halve the chilli (the chillies this week are HOT, so remove all of the seeds and white pith. Half may be more than enough if you don't like very spicy food). Separate the coriander stalks and leaves (save the leaves for later). Add the chilli and coriander stalks to the processor along with the ground coriander, turmeric, a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tbsp oil.
4. Put a large frying pan or wok on a medium-high heat. Scatter the cumin and mustard seeds into a dry pan and fry for 2 mins, tossing occasionally, till fragrant and lightly toasted. Carefully pour the seeds into the food processor and whiz well into a paste. No food processor? Instead simply finely chop or grate the garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander stalks, before mixing with the spices. Alternatively, give everything a good bash in a pestle and mortar.
5. Pop the empty frying pan back onto a medium heat and pour in 1 tbsp oil. Add the sliced onions and carrots with the curry paste. Fry for 5-6 mins, stirring frequently, till the veg start to soften. Stir in the cabbage and cook for a further 5 mins.
6. Crumble the coconut cream into the frying pan and stir well to dissolve. Warm through for a further 4-5 mins. Have a taste of the cabbage – it should be tender. Add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
7. Spoon the rice onto plates and top with the spiced cabbage. Finish with a scattering of coriander leaves and serve with wedges of the lime.
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This is a really lovely curry! I upped the chilli and garlic in my curry paste to suit my taste but otherwise I pretty much cooked this as per the recipe. A word of caution about the quantities - the recipe claims to serve two but it's more like 3-4, depending on appetite. I served up two (slightly too) large portions and there's still plenty left over for lunch tomorrow AND I'm too stuffed to move!

always up for something new


This is lovely and well worth making your own curry paste for - just don't burn the paste when you fry it off, makes it bitter. I have found a little more coconut cream necessary but have also used a tin of coconut milk instead if I want a more saucy curry. Personally the timings and multi tasking never work for me - I'm just not a speedy enough chopper and it makes for a stressful cooking experience. I tend to make the curry paste first, then do my prep then start cooking and put the rice on when I think I am half an hour from ready.