Mulakushyam/Cabbage & lentil coconut curry

Mulakushyam is a simple curry made using lentil and different vegetables in a coconut gravy. I first tasted this curry when my mother-in-law made it. Being an expert with dishes from Palakkad, in Kerala where this curry originated, she used to make it frequently. I recreate it as my husband has special, fond memories linked to it. Pumpkin, ash gourd, squash, cabbage, raw plantain or yellow cucumber are different choices of vegetables to use in this curry. I have not made it with cabbage for a long time so here we go!

Cabbage and lentil curryCabbage is a vegetable we cannot avoid because it has a lot to offer in the nutrition department. It is easily available in most places and cheap too. It stores well for a long time. I always have a good supply of cabbage in my fridge. Most people consider it weird because of its smell. I was in that category but realized all good things do not taste like chocolate. Now, I eat it for its vitamins, anti-oxidants and cancer preventive properties, in addition to the roughage it provides.

cabbage curryCabbage mulakushyam is a perfect combo of lentil, tomato and vegetable in a fragrant coconut base. Cabbage is first braised in oil adding tomato and then simmered with split yellow lentils(thur dhal). This curry has no strong spices but a coconut spiked, pleasant flavor.


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cooked thur dhal
  • 1 cups water + more for grinding
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt as needed

To grind

  • 1/2 cup coconut grated
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 red chillies


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 red chillies
  • few curry leaves
  1. Pressure cook Thur dhal until soft and mash it with a spoon.
  2. Grind coconut, red chillies and cumin with a little water to a fine paste.
  3. Take a heavy bottom pan and add 1 tbsp coconut oil.
  4. Saute chopped cabbage until it develops a nice smell and add chopped tomato.
  5. Stir well adding turmeric powder.
  6. Add mashed thur dhal, water to the pan and boil well.
  7. Add coconut paste and salt and let cabbage cook and curry is well blend.
  8. In another pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil, splutter mustard seeds, add curry leaves and red chillies to temper.
  9. Pour the tempering on the curry and mix well.
  10. Turn off heat and serve it hot with rice.

mologuIndian cooking method of frying aromatic spices in hot oil and adding to a dish is called Tempering. It is done as a last step or the first step in cooking, depending on the kind of dish. Popular as tadka, tempering transforms any dish into its delicious best! When added to hot oil, spices release their oils and a stronger aroma completely changes the profile of a dish! Ghee/clarified butter in the place of oil is used in some dishes. There are particular spices and oils for each curry and adding them in the right order is the key. Most Indian dishes are not complete without tempering.

cabbage lentil coconut curry After cooking dhal, this curry is done very fast. I freeze cooked dhal and that makes work easier. When coconut paste is made, it takes 15 minutes to boil all the ingredients together and the tempering might take a few more minutes. Adjust the chillies according to taste. It can also be done without the tempering, instead, add a dash of coconut oil and curry leaves on the prepared curry.

cabbage curryThis highly nutritious curry makes a great side dish with rice and some pappadams. It goes well with chapattis too. Enjoy this curry today!


About coconutcraze

I'm obsessed with coconuts!
This entry was posted in Brunch, Coconut, Curry, Easy recipe, Gluten free, Indian curry, Kerala recipe, Side dish, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Mulakushyam/Cabbage & lentil coconut curry

  1. I have never had this curry and will try it soon. In my home too, cabbage is cooked regularly but largely as Poriyal either by itself or then with peas or carrots.


  2. coconutcraze says:

    Yes, stir fried as Poriyal is another way to enjoy it. Oil has a magic touch on all leafy vegetables and make them taste excellent! This curry is a nice alternative. Some add pepper to make it spicier.


  3. This looks delicious! I never knew about tempering.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cabbage is one veggie I avoid but this sounds interesting..will give it a try..Nice clicks dear!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds delicious! I love the fragrance and flavors the tarka adds to curries. I also make salads, where I use this as a dressing with a little lemon juice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loretta says:

    I’ve never heard of this dish before, but like another reason for cooking cabbage the way you have. It looks like it has all the wonderful, healthy ingredients in this dish. I’d eat it with chapatis or naan :). Thanks for bringing this to Fiesta Friday, I hope you get to stay a while and mingle. Happy weekend to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jess says:

    I love that I get to learn new cooking methods through reading recipes, I also love the look and sound of this curry. Thank you for bringing to FF 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This looks awesome! Bookmarking!

    Liked by 1 person

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