Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Of Cabbages & Things

The best thing about getting married, it seemed, was getting my own kitchen as the folks at home had never been happy about my cooking and baking pursuits.

Getting my own kitchen, however, did not mean anything fancy. We had a small, portable, one-burner stove and that was it. I had all my cookbooks, of course, and maybe it was during some festival or the other that I hit upon the idea of making something new and unusual to distribute to my kind neighbours.

Being the feminist that I was, I had prepared The Spouse to expect him to pull his weight in the house and that evening saw both of us kneading one kilo of maida (white flour) and some rawa (semolina), rolling it out, rolling it up, cutting it into bits and folding it all over again and pinning it with a clove, frying it in oil and dunking it in sugar syrup to make some confection called Lavang Latika (LL).

"No way, I'm not going through with this, you shouldn't have used so much flour," said The Spouse.

"I can only follow recipes, and recipes are not mathematics that you can just halve or quarter them," I retorted. Actually, I'd never kneaded anything before, so the whole process was new to me, but it was thrilling, because there was something exotic to look forward to. Huffing and puffing, we managed to tame the dough to the best of our ability and fried the whole thing, almost running out of containers to house the LLs. The smoke and the smell of oil lingered for days after that and my kneading experiments stopped as soon as they began.

It was only post matrimony that I learnt to cook ordinary, everyday food, often going off certain foods for weeks because I'd cooked them so badly and couldn't shake off those memories. Today's recipe is a simple one devised out of the need to use up some frozen sweet corn, coriander and some shredded cabbage I got from the store.

Cabbage, chopped: 2 cups
Sweet corn, fresh/frozen and thawed: 3/4 cup
Oil: 1-2 tsp
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Cumin: 1 tsp
Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric: a pinch
Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
Coriander, chopped: 1/2 cup

In a pan, heat the oil. Pop the mustard and then the cumin.

On a low flame, add the cabbage and stir fry. Cover and let it cook for a while. Don't let it wilt too much.

Now add the salt. Add the corn, mix.

Cover and cook some more, till it softens just enough to your liking.

Add the chilli powder, mix well. Take it off the fire.

Sprinkle the garam masala, add the chopped coriander.

Bon appetit!


  1. never tried corn and cabbage together - thanks for the idea!

  2. Wow...this looks good! Your story reminds me of the early days of our marriage :) Good times!

  3. Sra, me too learnt to cook food (as in everyday food) only quite a while after marriage. I still remember experiments that produced rock-hard idlis, and puris that could have been used as frisbees. Lavangalatha is still something that exists only in cookbooks for me....I don't think I'll ever try my hand at it.

  4. Had a good laugh after reading about the LL'S. I am not too fond of cabbage so will not comment on the dish :)

  5. LOL, u managed to knead 1 kg of maida!!!! well, even i would have done the same in the initial period of cooking. before wedding all i cooked was 'very special' food, always something very fancy to look at taste;) i was too good to make everyday dal or rasama or stir fries for that matter:)
    now all i want to eat and cook is simple food which will save my time and also comforting. time does change one's opinion and taste:)
    i make simple south indian palya/stir fry using cabbage with potato or green peas. addition of corn is a lovely idea and good for diet. well, i can eat it as a whole meal instead of serving it as a side dish.

  6. i was kinda lookin forward to the recipe that resulted in"..rolling it out, rolling it up, cutting it into bits and folding it all over again and pinning it with a clove, frying it in oil and dunking it in sugar syrup to make some confection.."

    hehe :D

  7. Lavang latika - sounds like a pretty name. You must starting rolling that 1kg of maida again for us :)
    Corn and cabbage - that's a combination i haven't seen much looks awesome.

  8. Youth and inexperience makes us do things which we would not attempt otherwise :)I am not sure I know what Lavang Latika (LL) is but sure sounds interesting. I like happy endings! Did the neighbors like your hard worked creation?

  9. I love cabbage. Never tried it with corn though. I've never understood why cabbage gets such a bad rap. It tastes and smells just fine if cooked properly.
    I just came across LL on one of the blogs yesterday and remembered it as being one of the few Indian sweets that I liked.:)

  10. Lovely sabzi Sra! Love the combo of cabbage and sweet corn. this should be a pleasant change from spicy and hot food :)

  11. Cabbages and sweet corn, Different combo. Have to try this for sure. Sounds so healthy. YUM!. Lovely color.

  12. Please do make some LL for us...lavang latika..love the name :)

    Like I told you, the corn and cabbage combo got me thinking but
    sounds interesting....

  13. I am a total feminist too..i mean if i do 'x'..jeeves has to do 'y'..i make sure to divide all the housework equally..and if i were to do something extra one week...guess who gets extra stuff to do the next ;)...and yep! fancy stuff was made by me all the time at parent's home..once i was married..i bought many books to pour thru and draw up elaborate schedules to make them..Monday ..this..Wednesday...this...uhhhuh!! yep...all there in my schedule diary!!

    Corn and cabbage..yum! both my faves..sabji looks grat sra.

  14. LOL - that is the quote of the year "recipes are not mathematics that you can just halve or quarter them" :)

    I first started cooking after I moved out of my home. Luckily all my guinea pigs were bachelor boys staying away from home for the first time. They were just so grateful that someone was cooking, I got the false impression that I was actually good at this... ahem... I've come a long way ;)

    Oh and looking forward to a picture of Lavang Latika, just so that I can see how you managed to secure anything with a clove! :)

  15. trust you to pick the most bizarre sounding recipe from your cookbooks. lavang latika ... lol.

  16. corn & cabbage, sounds fun.
    How long did it take for the two of you to finish those LLs :D
    If I could choose, I'd still want to do only interesting, special event cooking:)

  17. The lavang latika and the cabbage corn were delicious..Yeah, I could smell them :))

  18. Corn and cabbage something new combi for me. I will try this out.

  19. Corn with cabbage -This one is new to me! I guess most of us started as disastrous cooks....at least I did..we used to have potatoes everyday either boiled, fried, roasted or mashed for one whole month before I learnt something else:)

  20. Tagged!!! Chk my blog for details.

  21. Nice combo of corn and cabbage..i make dal an cabbage combo.I was also very excited to have my own kitchenYour episode of LL reminds me of murukku...we had to fry for hours and hours..

  22. Arundathi, necessity-invention, etc etc. :)
    Homecooked, it was a tough day that day!
    Jayashree, I don't have those idli-puri problems. You see, I never learnt, to begin with! :)
    Vidya, okay, need to continue our clovely conversation.
    Sia, I had no clue how much it would work out to - just jumped into it blindly!
    Nags, there are any number of recipes for Lavang Latika, just Google it! I would do it again only if my life depended on it!
    Laavanya, oh no, pls see reply above! As for cabbage, corn, I just threw it together because I needed to exhaust them.
    Indo, not sure. Maybe they didn't, as it wasn't crisp enough.

  23. TBC, 'properly' is the elusive part!
    A&N, yeah, it's mild and mellow :)
    Sukanya, thanks, my friend was asking me if I use turmeric in everything!
    Rachel, you knead the dough, I make it for you. Heh heh!
    Rajitha, schedules for home food? Wow! I keep thinking I should put sticky notes to remind me of a piece of house work every day - cobweb dusting, etc ..
    Sig, you can, believe me - it's a different matter that the clove disappears when it's being fried. Somewhere on my blog is a recipe for Qatayef - that's also secured with a clove!
    Bee, oh, even now I pick the most bizarre things on the menu, I'm a sucker for exotic!
    Delhibelle, well until midnight, from about four in the evening.
    Swati, my cabbage didn't smell, delicious or otherwise - I was v surprised!
    Kitchenflavours, do, it's quite nice
    Sunshinemom, I know, potatoes can be such saviours!
    Jayashree, replied.
    Maheswari, yeah, I make it with soaked bengal gram - dry.

  24. Sra,I can picture the two of you huffing and puffing away with the dough :-D

    ..but seriously, I like both corn and cabbage, and your recipe sounds nice...i usually make a stir fry with cabbage :-)

  25. Never thought to try corn in cabbage! Shall try this next time for sure.
    I guess a lot of us started "real" cooking only after marriage.
    I still remember the first time we had house guests. My husband and I were eating chappathis and french bean curry for the next 3 days!

  26. I was expecting LL's recipe and picture but it seems need to be happy with cabbages ;)...had fun reading your LL saga

  27. looks yummy :) . this is indeed a nice combo.

  28. LOL at your LL story! I bet every newly married couple would have faced the same situation, I was no exception.

    Cabbage and Corn combo looks so good. Sometimes I made Cabbage, Green peas combo.

  29. this looks great! good L(o)L post. was laughing, because I too have similar experiences..:-)

  30. Sunita, we didn't even have much furniture those days, we were sitting on the floor and doing all this! Even the frying!
    Aparna, did you go off them for a while? I know I would! :)
    Priti, sorry to disappoint you but like I was saying, LLs only if my life depended on it - and then I might lose my life for how badly they turned out!!!
    Pooja, yeah, it wasn't bad.
    Uma, :). The cabbage-peas combo is quite a classic.
    Shreya, L(o)L! That was clever - L(o)L!

  31. Ha ha..my memories of early days of cooking, using hubby's assistance where possible :), cooking once for days together, feeling of liberation on getting own kitchen..matches yours exactly :)

  32. I couldn't agree with you more re: the spouse! It wasn't until we got engaged and started living together that I bothered even wondering about cooking everyday Indian food.

  33. LOL..consider your life depended on LL..pliss pliss Sra...would love to see you kneading another 1 kg of maida..now don't ask me where to get the maida...:)..


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