In Gujarat, cabbages and potatoes are near deities. In Lincolnshire, where they are the main crops, the same is true. I feel as though my bones, and the bones of my ancestors, are partly made up of these two vegetables. When you want something simple, not much beats a tangle of soft buttery cabbage with sweet caramelized onions and crisp potatoes, alongside a fierce pickle, yogurt, and chapatis.
Serves 4 to 6 as part of a main course
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 tablespoons canola oil
15 fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1¾ pounds baby potatoes, quartered
½ pound savoy cabbage, finely shredded
½ pound black kale or cavalo nero, finely shredded
1¼ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground red chile
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
Lightly grind the coriander and cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle. Put the oil into a large lidded frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the curry leaves and mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the onion. Cook for around 10 minutes, until golden and sweet, stirring occasionally.
Add the crushed coriander and cumin, followed by the potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes, turning every now and then until crispy. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover with the lid, and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and no longer resist the point of a knife.
Finally, add the shredded cabbage and black kale to the pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the salt, ground red chile, and turmeric, mix well, cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for another 4 minutes, or until the cabbage and black kale have wilted.
Serve with a fiery pickle, hot chapatis, and a dollop of yogurt, or alongside dal and rice.