Padma Lakshmi Just Made This Coconut-Braised Cabbage That's Perfect for Chilly Nights

a photo of Padma Lakshmi
a photo of Padma Lakshmi

Noam Galai/Getty Images

Padma Lakshmi is back again with another delicious recipe, and this one is perfect for the winter months.

In a new Instagram reel, Lakshmi shares her "simple, aromatic" recipe for Coconut-Braised Cabbage, a simple dish that when served over rice, grains or legumes, comes together as a balanced and delicious plant-based meal.

"It's classic South Indian home cooking, super adaptable depending on what you have on hand, and most importantly, really really yummy," Lakshmi writes in the caption of her video.

Here's how you can make the Top Chef host's version of this classic cozy dish.

Related: 15 Padma Lakshmi Recipes We Can't Stop Making

First, Lakshmi heats up a frying pan with canola oil to start off her broth. In the pan, she adds 2 cups of diced red onions and sautés them for five minutes, or until the onions start to get translucent. Shallots or white onions would also work as an alternative if that's what you have on hand.

She takes 10 curry leaves and rips them up to mix into her sautéed onions. Lakshmi then adds in 2 cloves of sliced garlic, 2 tablespoons of minced ginger, 2 green chiles—left whole with a slit down the middle of each—and a pinch of salt. She goes on to season everything with sambar powder.

"Sambar powder is a curry blend we use in South India," Lakshmi explains in the video. "You can order it online. My favorite brand is 777."

Related: Yellow Split Pea Sambar with Turnip, Eggplant & Okra

Adding only about ¾ teaspoon of sambar to the skillet, Lakshmi starts pouring in a can of coconut milk before mixing everything together. Before she's done with this step, she adds in 2 "heaping" tablespoons of tamarind concentrate.

Lakshmi moves on to prepare her cabbage. She grabs a smaller head of cabbage since she's only serving two, but you can use a larger head of cabbage if you're serving family or a larger group.

"Your cabbage should fit into the pot completely so you can submerge it," she notes in the post.

After cutting off the stem, she scores the cabbage by cutting down the middle but not completely through, just until she hits the center of the cabbage. Then she turns it and cuts it halfway through again, making an "X" shape in her cabbage head.

She then adds the brothy mixture from the pan into the clay pot where she'll add the cabbage. She writes in her caption that the pot she's using is a clay Tierra Negra pot but that "any high-walled pot will do."

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One more can of coconut milk, a can filled with water, a few curry leaves and salt to taste are all added and mixed into the broth. As it warms up, Lakshmi finally adds in her cabbage head and covers it to cook in the pot for 75 minutes, recommending 90 minutes if you're using a larger cabbage.

"The cabbage stays intact but the broth penetrates the layers, sneaking in between every fold, transforming the veg into something so beautiful," she writes about the dish.

Lakshmi gives it a taste once the cabbage is soft and the broth is bubbling, insisting that it's melt-in-your-mouth delicious. As an added optional step, she garnishes the whole pot with cilantro before plating.

"This over some rice is all I need," Lakshmi says at the end of her post.

This Coconut-Braised Cabbage is a tasty and healthy way to stay warm on chilly nights. This vegan-friendly dish is easily adaptable and uses simple pantry ingredients that you may already have on hand.

"You can also poach any protein in the broth!" Lakshmi writes as a side note. "Shrimp would be beautiful, or tofu to keep it vegan."

Looking for more braised cabbage recipes? Try out our Braised Green Cabbage or Braised Red Cabbage. For a more complete meal, our Braised Cabbage & Lima Beans over Toast is a comforting dinner well-suited for the season.

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