Battered and Fried Cabbage with Crispy Seeds and Lemon

What You'll Need

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • sharp paring knife
  • baking sheet
  • paper towels
  • deep dutch oven or skillet
  • fry thermometer
  • large mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • 1/4 head green cabbage
  • Vegetable or olive oil, for deep frying
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • dried chile flakes
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
I adore this recipe. The seeds are really what makes it, all the wild and rich and complementary flavors of the cumin and the coriander and the subtle poppyseed, crisped and lightly puffed in the lightest of tempura batter. The crunch! The cabbage, however delightful, is really just a vehicle for the crispy batter and the seeds, but it wouldn’t work with many other vegetables; the magic is in the lightness of the batter over the thin cabbage leaves, and the flavorful crunch of the seeds. Don’t be shy of adding enough salt to the batter, as well as a sprinkling of crunchy Maldon over the top with lemon when serving. The salt and lemon add an essential element to tie all the flavors together. Serve it quickly after frying, when it is warm and crunchy and still light and airy. Another gem from Joshua Mc Fadden’s Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables.
fried cabbage leaves


Cut away the dense cabbage core with a sharp paring knife and separate the leaves, tearing any very large leaves into smaller pieces that will fit well into your frying pot.tear cabbage leaves
Arrange a double layer of paper towels on a tray or baking sheet and set it near the stove. Pour 3 inches of oil (vegetable oil or a mix of vegetable and olive oil, for frying) into a saucepan, making sure there are at least 3” of headroom to avoid spillovers.

Slowly bring the oil up to 375° F on a thermometer. Alternatively, test the temperature by frying a small piece of bread in the oil; when the oil is ready, it should take about 60 seconds to get the bread nicely crisp and brown without burning.

As the oil is heating, whisk together the cornstarch and flour in a bowl. Whisk in enough of the sparkling water to make a thin batter. whisk sparkling water into flourWhisk in the poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (or more if you like things spicy) 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper.whisk in seasonings
When the oil is ready, dip a cabbage leaf into the batter, let the excess drip off.  dip leaves in batterCarefully immerse it in the hot oil. If there’s room in the pan for more than one leaf, you can fry several at a time, but don’t overcrowd the pan to the point where the temperature drops, which will make the coating greasy and generally less delicious.

fry one leaf at a timeFry until the coating is puffed and very light golden (these will not get deeply colored). fry until goldenTransfer to the paper to drain and continue frying the rest of the cabbage.
transfer to sheet panOnce all the cabbage leaves are fried, turn off the heat under the pan and arrange the cabbage on a platter. Season with a bit more salt and a squeeze of lemon and serve right away.season and eat right away

Over to You

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