Food Vegetarian Cooking

Positively Pranic: Sautéed Cabbage with Coconut

Serving up good vibes all around.


Cabbage is one of those vegetables that some people just can’t stomach, particularly because of its smell when it’s cooked.

However, including cabbage into your diet has many benefits: Like its relatives broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and kale, cabbage is packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber that helps in digestion, and which has been linked to lower risk of diabetes or cholesterol problems. It has detoxifying properties, and is touted as a beautifying ingredient by Jolene Hart in her guide to nutrition for beauty “Eat Pretty”. According to Hart, the vitamin C contained in cabbage is required for production of collagen and elastin that help keep your skin firm.

Since cabbage is a do-gooder for your insides and out, I’ve been leveraging it as part of my 21-day challenge. Plus, I grew up on a tasty cabbage dish that’s typical in south Indian meals, which has made including this cruciferous veggie into my diet more palatable into adulthood.

My mom taught me how to make this, so I estimate measurements at this point.However, I’ve included below more formal measurements based on a version of this recipe found in the Isha Yoga Center’s cookbook on pranic foods, “A Taste of Well Being.”


Positive vibes with pranic foods

The concept of pranic foods is based on the idea that the food we eat is “alive” with energy and can affect our minds and bodies in a positive or negative way. Thus, Isha yoga promotes a balanced diet of  “zero” or “positive” pranic foods that either keep us in neutral or boost our metabolism, energy levels, blood circulation, and awareness. Negative pranic foods— like coffee, garlic, eggplant, alcohol, chillies or asafetida— mute or stimulate our senses negatively. (Though for the cabbage recipe below, the Isha Yoga Center has included a small amount of red chillies, and I personally add a little bit of asafetida for extra umph).

The coconut here pairs well with the naturally sweet flavor of the cabbage. Though optional, you can make this recipe a triple threat by adding peas and carrots. Green peas are packed with protein essential for strong hair, nail, and skin, and carrots are full of carotenoids associated with keeping blood sugar levels low, and biotin, which helps promote hair, skin and nail growth.

Sautéed Cabbage with Coconut


  • 3 cups cabbage, chopped or shredded
  • 2 cups carrot, diced (optional, recommended)
  • 1 cup green peas (optional, recommended)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp urad dal (split and dehusked black gram lentils)
  • 4 tbsp grated coconut
  • 2 dry red chillies, broken
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida (optional, not pranic)
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • sprig of cilantro (coriander leaves)


  1. Shred or chop cabbage into small pieces.
  2. In a deep sauté pan, heat a teaspoon of oil and add mustard seeds.
  3. When mustard seeds start to splatter, add urad dal, curry leaves, red chilies.
  4. Once urad dal turns golden brown, add one more teaspoon of oil, add turmeric and asafetida. Stir.
  5.  Add chopped cabbage to the pan, along with carrots and peas if you have them. Stir the veggies evenly into the seasoning mix so they are evenly coated.
  6. Sprinkle a little water on the vegetable mix as needed to continue cooking it over low-medium heat. Stir, and allow to cook covered, checking every 5-6 minutes. Add a little bit of water as needed every so often until cabbage is tender and any water has evaporated.
  7. Once the cabbage is tender, add grated coconut and cilantro. Stir well.
  8. Season with salt as needed. Stir well and serve.

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