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cabbage thoran on a plate with curry leaves and shallots on the side.
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5 from 2 votes

Delicious Cabbage Thoran: Kerala-Style Cabbage Stir Fry

Cabbage Thoran is an original recipe from Kerala, made the quick and easy way for maximum flavor. Enjoy this great vegetarian side dish with bread or rice!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Resting Time20 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 8 portions
Calories: 173kcal
Author: Elle John


  • 1 Cabbage between 2 and 2.2 lbs [1-1.2kg]
  • 1 Medium Red Onion or 6-8 Pearl Onions
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Fresh Chopped Ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Fresh Chopped Garlic
  • 2 Green Chilies Chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Cup Grated Coconut Fresh or Frozen
  • 4 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Urad Dal
  • 2-3 Dried Red Chilies
  • 30-40 Curry Leaves
  • Salt To Taste


Prepare The Cabbage

  • Remove the external leaves, if damaged, and rinse the cabbage.
  • Cut the cabbage in wedges or pieces that are comfortable to hold in your hand, and grate using the largest shredding holes on your grater until you reach the core of the cabbage; using this method, you will have almost no wastage. You can also shred the cabbage using a food processor, or you can slice the cabbage thinly using a knife, although this is a very time-consuming method.
  • Place all the chopped cabbage in a large bowl and add a teaspoon of salt per pound [450g] of cabbage; mix well and allow the cabbage to rest for about 20 minutes. This will allow the vegetables to release the excess water, helping make the stir fry crisp and dry.
  • Once the cabbage has rested, it is time to eliminate the excess water. Take a handful of the shredded veggies in your hand and squeeze over the sink; a lot of water will be eliminated. Place the cabbage that has been drained of the excess water in a separate bowl, and proceed doing to the whole bowl.
  • Your cooking cabbage is now ready!

Prepare The Cabbage Mix

  • To the shredded cabbage, add turmeric powder, chopped green chilies thinly chopped onions [pearl onions or shallots], fresh ginger and garlic. Mix well until all the ingredients using your hands for best result.
  • Next, add the fresh coconut to the cabbage mixture, and mix well using your hands once more. If using frozen, allow the shredded coconut to reach room temperature before using it; you can also defrosted using the defrost mode in the microwave.

Prepare The Thoran

  • In a wide heavy bottomed pan add the coconut oil and heat up on medium heat.
  • Once the oil is warm, add the mustard seeds, and after 10-15 seconds that they have been popping, add the urad dal, and after a further 20-30 seconds, add the dried red chilies.
  • As soon as you add the dried chilies, increase the flame to medium high.
  • After 20 more seconds, it is time to start adding the coconut and chopped cabbage mixture to the pan. Add a few handfuls at a time, give a quick mix, and add more, until everything has been added to the pan.
  • Keep the flame on medium high and frequently mix the cabbage thoran, as you want it to stir fry.
  • After about 5 minutes, taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary and add the curry leaves.
  • Mix well and continue cooking till your desired consistency [depending on preference, it will take between 3 and 10 minutes more], and, once ready, don't cover with a lid, as the cabbage thoran may become soggy.
  • Serve cabbage thoran hot or room temperature with rice or flatbreads, such as roti.


Excess Water: To ensure the cabbage thoran is dry, it is important that the cabbage is allowed to rest in salt for at least 15-20 minutes, as this will allow you to squeeze out most of the unwanted water. Water-rich cabbage makes it hard to stir fry the dish, as the liquid is released in the pan.
Wide Heavy Bottomed Pan: Although the cabbage will lose a lot of its volume once cooked, using a pan with a wide bottom will help stir fry the vegetables better. Smaller pans will keep the moisture and steam in between the vegetables, making them 'boil' rather than fry.
How to store cabbage thoran?
  • In the fridge: Cabbage thoran can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.
  • In the freezer: This cabbage fry can be frozen for up to three months. To reheat, allow the cabbage to defrost in the fridge overnight, then sautee in a frying pan with a little coconut oil until hot.


Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 284mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 287IU | Vitamin C: 119mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 1mg