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Cabbage Thoran

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Cabbage thoran is an easy and tasty veggie stir-fry.

Whenever I visit Kerala in Southern India, I am amazed at how good the food is. This cabbage thoran is one you can literally cook up in minutes and the flavours and textures you get are incredible. So if you’re looking for a nice veggie side dish you have one in cabbage thoran. This dry curry can also be and often is served as a main.

Cabbage thoran in a serving bowl.

What is cabbage thoran?

Cabbage Thoran is a popular South Indian dish, particularly in the state of Kerala. Thoran refers to a dry vegetable stir-fry that is often made with grated or finely chopped vegetables, coconut, and a mixture of spices. You might also like to try my green beans thoran. The two dry curries go very well together.

How do you cook this cabbage thoran?

Cabbage thoran is a simple stir-fry. No matter what your level of cooking expertise, you can make this dry curry to perfection.

You start by infusing mustard seeds, dry Kashmiri chillies and curry leaves in coconut oil.

Then you stir in the ground spices, chopped tomatoes and shredded cabbage and just let it all cook through. To finish you add grated coconut and stir it in. It’s really that easy.

What are the ingredients that go into this dry curry?

  1. Coconut oil: This oil is used not just to fry the cabbage thoran but also to flavour it. You will notice the subtle flavour of coconut that comes from coconut oil. There are no substititutes.
  2. Mustard Seeds and dry Kashmiri chillies:  These are a must. The black mustard seeds give the thoran a nutty flavour while the Kashmiri chillies infuse their mild spiciness into the oil.
  3. Curry leaves: Curry leave add a flavour only curry leaves can. You can use fresh or frozen curry leaves. Don’t use dried curry leaves as they have little to know flavour.
  4. Onions, garlic, ginger and chillies: All of these are staples in Keralan and southern Indian cooking and a must for any thoran curry.
  5. Chilli powder and ground turmeric: The chilli powder adds a spicy flavour and should be added to taste. The turmeric adds a mildly bitter flavour and should also be added to taste.
  6. Cabbage: This is an obvious. Any green cabbage will do here so chose the cabbage you like best.
  7. Grated coconut: Grated coconut is added for both for its nutty flavour and texture. 

Do you have to use coconut oil?

If you want your cabbage thoran to taste as it does in Kerala, then yes. The coconut oil adds a lot of flavour to the curry.

If you want to use another oil such as vegetable oil, it will work but you will lose that amazing flavour of the coconut oil.

What do you serve with cabbage thoran?

Rice! White basmati rice is delicious and a traditional side for this curry. You could also serve it with matta rice or simply on it’s own as a light meal.

How long can you keep this curry in the fridge?

Freshness is key to a good cabbage thoran. You can store it in the fridge for one to two days. You could actually store it longer as it won’t go off but I find cabbage thoran to be much better right out of the pan.

If you do have leftovers and want to reheat them, you can heat them up in a little coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat. You could also heat this curry in your microwave but the pan method is better.

Can you freeze cabbage thoran?

I don’t really recommend freezing this curry. The cabbage will lose the texture that makes cabbage thoran what it is.

Pro Tips:

  1. Freshness is Key: Only use the freshest cabbage, coconut and spices you can get your hands on. You can use tinned (canned) tomatoes though. They are often better than fresh depending on the season and where you live.
  2. D0n’t overcook: You want to stir-fry this curry until the cabbage is just cooked through. It should be hot, cooked and still a bit crunchy. Never soggy!
  3. Check for seasoning: Always check for seasoning at the end of cooking. There isn’t much to this cabbage thoran so ensure you try it first and adjust the flavours to your personal taste.

Step by step photographs.

Ingredients for the thoran.

Get all your ingredients together and prepared before starting.

Toasting the grated coconut.

Toast the grated coconut over a medium heat until fragrant and beginning to turn a golden brown in places. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Frying the aromatic ingredients in coconut oil in a wok.

Increase the cooking temperature to high and add the mustard seeds and urad dal. When the mustard seeds begin to crackle, reduce the heat and add the curry leaves, dried chilies and cumin seeds.

Adding the chopped onions to the wok.

Add the chopped onion and continue frying over a medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.

Adding the chillies and garlic to the wok.

Add the chillies and garlic and fry to soften for about 40 seconds.

Adding the cabbage and ground spices to the wok.

Stir in the shredded cabbage along with the chilli powder and ground turmeric.

Stirring the spices together and adding the toasted coconut.

Stir well to combine and keep frying until the cabbage is cooked through but still a bit crunchy. Add and stir in the toasted coconut.

The finished cabbage thoran. Seasoning with salt and pepper.

All done! Give it a try and adjust the flavours adding salt and black pepper to taste.

Cabbage thoran in a serving dish with rice and parathas.

This is so good!

Cabbage thoran

You are going to be hooked on cabbage thoran. I sure am.

If you like this cabbage thoran recipe, you might like to try some of the Indian Vegetarian favourites.

Dum Aloo
Pakistani Chickpea Biryani
Punjabi Saag Curry
Punjabi Rajma
Butternut Squash Curry
Sri Lankan Green Beans Curry
Aloo Gobi
Saag Paneer
Onion Pakora Curry
Chana Saag Curry
Potato Curry
Mushroom Curry
Masala Corn
Gobi Manchurian
Bombay Potatoes
Masala Dosa
Saag Aloo
Tandoori Hummus
Tarka Dal
Masoor Dal
Dal Makhani
Chana Dal
Homemade Poppadoms From Scratch
Green Bean Thoran

Have you tried this cabbage thoran recipe?

If yes, please give it a star rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.

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Yield: 4

Try This Delicious Stir-fried Cabbage and Coconut from Kerala

Cabbage thoran in a serving dish with rice and parathas.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 4 tbsp grated fresh or frozen coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp white urad dal lentils
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 dried Kashmiri chillies
  • 1/2 red onion, Finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green finger chillies, (or other green chillies of choice), finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli spur chilli or other, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 head green cabbage (any cabbage will do), shredded
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmerice
  • A pinch of Kashmiri chilli powder (to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a wok or frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the grated coconut. Toast the coconut until golden brown and then transfer to a plate. Set aside.
  2. Now add the coconut oil to the pan over a high heat. When visibly hot, add the mustard seeds and urad dal and stir these around in the oil. When the mustard seeds begin to crackle and your urad dal is turning a light brown, reduce the heat to medium-high and add the Kashmiri chilli peppers and curry leaves.
  3. Fry these ingredients for another 40 seconds and then add the chopped onion and fry for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.
  4. Add the minced garlic and the chillies and fry for another 30 seconds to soften.
  5. Add the shredded cabbage and stir-fry for a few minutes until the cabbage is cooked through but still a bit crisp and then return the toasted grated coconut to the pan. Add the ground turmeric and chilli powder and stir these in and continue frying until you are happy with the doneness of the cabbage.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 1109mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 13gSugar: 17gProtein: 28g

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Monday 19th of September 2022

Thanks Dan this is such an easy and delicious side dish. Regards from Cornwall, Sab

Dan Toombs

Friday 23rd of September 2022

Thanks very much, I am really glad you enjoyed the recipe. Dan

Thomas Moore

Saturday 25th of April 2020

There are a few ingredients mentioned in the instructions that different from your list of ingredients. Onion? Green chili

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 28th of April 2020

Hi Thomas Thanks for noticing that. I will add them to the recipe instructions. Dan

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