Cabbage with Gram Flour (Kobhi ani Peetha chi Bhaji) is a typical dish from the state of Maharashtra, located on India’s western coast. This particular recipe is made using gram flour which is made from dried chickpeas; it is known as “besan” in India. The addition of besan to this dish provides an additional depth of flavor and a little protein boost. The use of besan is not limited to cabbage but can be used in almost any vegetable dish. Besan is easily available in any Indian grocery store.
If you are pressed for time, feel free to buy the pre-shredded cabbage and carrots. This dish will be ready in a pinch and is just perfect for those last minute dinner guests.
CABBAGE WITH GRAM FLOUR (Kobhi ani Peetha chi Bhaji)
1 small head of green cabbage (any variety will work), finely shredded - about 3 to 4 cups
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
½ cup of green peas (frozen is fine) or edamame
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
3-4 dried red chilies, to taste
4 tbsp of besan
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
¼ tsp garam masala
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot add the onions and stir fry until translucent. Next, add the ginger and garlic and keep stir frying. Now add the dried red chilies and curry leaves. Stir and slowly sprinkle in the besan flour, making sure to let it “fry” for a minute or 2 until it is nicely browned and fragrant. Also, make sure there is enough oil to properly fry the besan, otherwise you will end up with a raw taste of besan flour in your final product.
Next, add all of the spices (turmeric, cumin powder, red chili powder, garam masala, salt and pepper). Stir to combine and add the shredded cabbage. Mix thoroughly to coat the cabbage in all of the wonderful spices. Add the grated carrots and peas. Mix well and add a little water (¼ to ½ cup), cover, reduce and let cook for just 5-6 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Garnish and serve with fresh chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.
For a healthier version of this dish, roast the besan in a dry skillet on medium low for a few minutes until fragrant. Remove and set aside until needed. This can now be added to the dish along with the spices. If you dry roast the besan and add it later, you can reduce the amount of oil required to only 1 tbsp.