Like many other colorless vegetables, I used to put cabbage in the why-even-bother category. It took up a lot of space in the fridge, offered little flavor raw, and really just reminded me of soggy cole-slaws at less than decent barbecue restaurants. So when Food and Wine (a favorite magazine of mine) published an entire issue on foods to benefit your health and elongate your life, I was surprised to see cabbage in numerous recipes (and equally unsurprised to see turmeric in almost every single one).
In addition to being the second most economical cooked vegetable out there (behind potatoes), cabbage boasts impressive antioxidant capabilities, as well as packing a significant Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C punch. Cabbage and oranges actually contain almost identical amounts of Vitamin C by weight (roughly 8.4 milligrams per 23 grams of cabbage, and approximately 12 milligrams per 23 grams of orange). Further, the large quantity of fiber found in Cabbage keeps you satiated. In other somewhat more unsubstantiated claims Chinese scrolls from 1000 B.C. claim cabbage cures baldness in men, and can cure a hangover.
So combined with turmeric (health benefits listed in this post I wrote for the American Birkebeiner Foundation), cumin, and a drizzle of olive oil…I was sold on giving the Food and Wine turmeric cabbage stir fry a go. I added a touch of a honey and reduced the salt by about half, and found this to be a perfect side for roast chicken, or the base for any kind of savory bowl you could imagine. Cutting the cabbage about 30 minutes before you plan on using it and letting it completely dry out ensures you avoid any unwanted sogginess, and using a good pan gives you touches of brown that gives a nice crunch and color to the overall dish.
Turmeric Cabbage Stir Fry
Serves 4, adapted slightly from Food and Wine
3 pound good quality (preferably organic) green cabbage head, cored and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil (coconut oil would also be lovely here)
1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
1 tablespoon honey
Heat oil in a heavy sauté pan (cast iron if you have it!) over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, and toast for 60 seconds, stirring constantly until fragrant. Add cabbage, turmeric, and salt to the mix, stir until cabbage is completely covered and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage has softened and some light brown coloring has begun. Remove from heat, stir in your honey, and enjoy!
Something I’d try next time: Toasted pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews would be a lovely addition to this.