I used to make this one dish all the time – cabbage with cumin seeds. Recently I started craving it and realized it had been years since I had made it. My mouth remembered it so well, but I had no idea where the recipe or idea came from, or exactly how the dish was made.
I had a vague memory of butter, and then possibly braising, although I’ve never really managed to figure out what braising is, so maybe not. But I really, really wanted the cabbage with cumin seeds, so I knew I had to at least try to recreate it.
I’m a big recipe-follower and recipe-improviser, not so much a recipe-creator. I do that sometimes (especially for stir-fries, soups, salads, and grain dishes), but usually the dressing, the sauce, the general flavor profile will be borrowed from somewhere else. But when I googled for recipes for cabbage with cumin seeds, nothing that I found matched my mouth’s memory. There were lots of Indian stir-fries and even a beer-braised cabbage recipe, but I was looking for something very simple. Something that apparently, at least as far as Google could tell, I actually made up myself.
So I winged it (wung it? wang it?) and it came out perfectly. Exactly as I remember, so delicious, and so easy. I’ll write it down here for my future self – five years from now when I check google for “cabbage with cumin seeds” I’ll actually be able to find what I’m looking for!
Cabbage with Cumin Seeds
1 head cabbage, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 T. butter (or vegan equivalent)
1 T. cumin seeds
In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter over gentle heat. (Low or medium-low heat, depending on the quirks of your stove.) When the butter begins to sputter (but never let it get close to browning!), toss in your cumin seeds and stir them around for a while. When their aroma starts floating up out of the pot and they are getting darker in color, add in the cabbage, and toss it with the butter and the cumin seeds. Stir everything around for a while, then cover the pot and let cook. If the cabbage isn’t cooking, turn up the heat a bit. Stir occasionally to keep from burning/sticking. When cabbage is as tender as you like it, remove from heat and serve immediately. Enjoy!