Quick Indian Cabbage Salad Recipe

Quick Indian Cabbage Salad on a banana leaf with half a lime.
Prasanna Sankhe

This salad of crisp cabbage, carrots, and coconut is one of those Indian dishes that takes minimal effort, doesn't involve a whole range of spices, and is ready in minutes. Dressed in an infused oil, it's the perfect side dish for a meal of rice and chicken, like Kerala-Style Chicken Curry, Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Masala, or Chicken Tikka Masala. With grilling season kicking in, the salad would also make a great accompaniment to any number of grilled dishes, especially kebabs. Think of it as a slaw.

At its simplest, the dressing calls for olive oil in which you've cooked down some mustard seeds, serrano chili, and curry leaves, but you can also use a more flavorful oil like mustard, sesame, or coconut if you'd like. Crushed roasted peanuts, lime juice, and a touch of sugar round out the flavors. Leftovers make a great filling for a sandwich—just add a few boiled, sliced potatoes, stuff it into some bread, and you've got lunch.

Why this recipe works:

  • Unlike many Indian dishes, this one requires minimal ingredients, and comes together in just about 10 minutes.
  • Infusing the oil with spices brings flavor to the dish that coats every ingredient.

Notes: For a different flavor, substitute mustard seed, coconut, or sesame oil in place of the olive oil. To crush peanuts, pound gently in a mortar and pestle or crush by pressing under a skillet.

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serves: 2 servings

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (see note)

  • 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds

  • 1 Serrano chile slit lengthwise

  • 5 to 6 curry leaves (optional)

  • 1/2 small head cabbage, finely chopped or grated on the large hole of a box grate

  • 1 medium carrot, grated on the large holes of a box grater

  • 2 tablespoons roasted and coarsely ground peanuts (see note)

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice from 1 lime

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated coconut flesh

  • Kosher salt


  1. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Step back and add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Add the Serrano chilli and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add curry leaves (if using) and allow them to sputter, about 30 seconds. Transfer infused oil to a small bowl to cool.

  2. Mix grated cabbage, carrot, peanuts, lime juice, sugar, and grated coconut flesh in a large bowl. Add the cooled oil to the mixture and toss. Season to taste with salt. Serve.

Special equipment

Mortar and pestle, non-stick skillet, Mixing bowl, food processor

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
239 Calories
13g Fat
30g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 239
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 556mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 154mg 769%
Calcium 215mg 17%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 965mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)