This is an Indian take on combining these 2 items that makes cabbage much tastier for those of us who aren’t fans of cooked cabbage. You can make it mild which is the way I show it here, but you can kick it up one or more notches if you want more heat!
BTW, did you know that spicy foods are most commonly eaten in those countries that border the Equator? It’s true! Look at a world map or globe and you’ll see that Equatorial countries (or parts of countries) nearest the Equator serve spicier foods. Closer to the poles, food that are more ‘stick to the ribs’ are eaten. The reason is obvious. Spicy foods will make you sweat which is Mother Nature’s way of cooling us off; heavy foods help insulate us against the cold.
This recipe can be made on top of the stove – so that helps keep the kitchen cooler in these steamy, summer days. Add mashed potatoes or rice, a salad and a cool dessert, and dinner is ready!
Pork Chops with Cabbage
- 1 medium cabbage (about 2-1/2 pounds), outer leaves removed, washed and shredded (as for Cole slaw)
- 1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced half rings
- 8 pork chops, loin or rib
- 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks, each approx. 2-1/2″ long
- 8 cardamom pods*
- 10 whole cloves*
- 12 whole black peppercorns
- 1 dried hot pepper (more if you want it hotter)
- 1 c water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seed*
- 1/4 c plain yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Wipe pork chops dry and trim all fat except 1/8″ around the edge. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in heavy 10-12″ skillet over medium high heat. When oil is hot, put in 4 chops and cook until browned on both sides (about 3 – 4 minutes each side). Remove to a plate or bowl and keep warm. Repeat with remaining 4 chops. Remove those to the plate or bowl and cover.
In the same skillet, fry the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns and hot pepper(s) about 1 minute until red pepper darkens. Add 1 cup water, sugar and 1 tsp. salt; stir until sugar dissolves, then add all the pork chops. Bring to a boil and cover, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil over medium high heat until hot. Add the cumin seed and stir until lightly brown, about 20 seconds. Add the sliced onions and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until light brown but not burned. Turn heat down to medium, add the cabbage. Fry for about 1 minute, then cover, lower heat and let steam in its own juices for about 5 minutes. Raise heat again to medium and add 1/2 tsp. salt. Continue to fry, stirring occasionally until cabbage is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Turn off flame.
Put the yogurt into a cup and add 1/4 cup water and stir well until completely blended.
When the pork chops have cooked for the 35 minutes, uncover and add the cabbage, yogurt sauce and lemon juice. Mix sauce well through cabbage.
* Available at Savory Spice Shops. There you can purchase small amounts of herbs and spices you want so you don’t waste money on large quantities that you won’t use!