About 15 years ago, my friend Shenaaz introduced me to this cabbage salad recipe and its been on my life menu ever since. I love food that is simple, easy, healthy and flavorful! Every bite has a blend of tangy, slightly spicy, and roasted goodness that adds a nice warmth to the cold energy of cabbage. Growing up, a cabbage salad of a different sort was on the daily menu. My mom loved it and so did I. The crunch, crunch is so satisfying and the perfect complement to a simple meal like, daal chawal (lentil soup & rice). When Shenaaz made the non-ginger version of this salad for me, I was really happy to have another delicious variation of cabbage salad to choose from. Being a ginger lover, I added grated ginger to the dressing as a digestive aide to prevent the common side effects that are associate with cabbage—you know what I am referring to right?! And for the record, the ginger has served me well. To mix it up every once in a while, I have added steamed chicken, carrots, scallions and toasted almonds, replaced it for lettuce in a sandwich, but most of the time, I enjoy it as is—delicious and nutritious.
Time to Make: 20-25 mins
Serves: 4- 8
You Need: a sharp knife
- 8 cups of sliced green cabbage* (about 1 medium cabbage)
- 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (including the stems)
- 2 T freshly grated ginger
- 2 T lemon or lime juice
- 2 T of roasted sesame oil
- 1-2 T of sesame or peanut oil (optional)*
- 1 T of sesame seeds
Step 1: Slice up your cabbage. I don’t really have a system but I like to cut it in half and then quarter it. Sometimes I even split the quarter in half. I cut it at different angles to get a variety of texture, but keep the slices short so its easy to eat. You want thin slices, but not as thin as it would be if you used a mandolin. When I get to the courser parts, I try to cut it as thin as I can, as its better for digestion, but sometimes I just save those pieces for a stock.
Add the 8 cups of cabbage to a large bowl and toss with salt. Set aside and let the salt soften or cure the cabbage. This takes about 10 minutes or so.
Step 2: In the meantime, combine the lemon juice and oil(s) and then add the grated ginger. Set aside
Step 3: Chop up the cilantro including the stems (its got amazing flavor) and toss it with the salad. If the cabbage has started to soften and perhaps it has released a bit of water, add your dressing and toss. If not, give it a few more minutes, it usually takes about 10 mins.
Step 4: Heat a small frying pan on medium heat and add sesame seeds (while pan is cold). Slowly stir with a wooden spoon. You will see the sesame seeds start to release oil and then get toasty. When they have reached a rich brown (a bit darker then golden), remove from heat and add to the salad. You should hear a sizzle—click here for the video .
Toss & serve. This salad keeps well for up to 3 days. My recommendation is to always serve it at room temperature—be kind to your digestive fire.
Tastes: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent, Bitter
- astringent in taste
- cooling in energy
- pungent in its post-digestive effect
- its qualities are dry and rough
- pitta and kapha pacifying (increases vata if eaten raw and without oil)
- like all vegetables extremely nutritious, eat more veggies
*using a non-roasted oil along with the roasted sesame oil will help balance out the dryness of cabbage and help those with vata dominant doshas or imbalances such as: constipation, dryness, bloating. Roasted sesame oil is not moisturizing, but very flavorful and aromatic.
*I prefer using green cabbage to purple in recipes where the cabbage is cured as green cabbage is easier on your digestion.