Vegetable market in Central Asia



(V) indicates vegetarian recipes, and (VV) indicates vegan recipes.


See also Curried sweet potato and spinach from the Root Vegetables section and Spinach and prawn curry from the Shellfish section.



I have no money to buy pullets,

Nor geese nor pigs, but two green cheeses,

A few curds and cream, and a cake of oats,

And two loaves of beans and bran to bake for my children,

And yet, I say by my soul, I have no salt bacon,

Nor eggs, by Christ, to make collops;

But I have parsley, leeks and many cabbages…


Piers Plowman, by William Langland, late 1300s.


"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax;
Of cabbages, and kings,
And why the sea is boiling hot,
And whether pigs have wings."


The Walrus and the Carpenter, Lewis Carroll, 1872.





This is for those who really like cabbage.

1 smallish white cabbage

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon oil

1 generous tablespoon flour


4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan or 6 tablespoons grated mature cheddar

salt, pepper

Shred the cabbage and soak in cod salted water for half an hour. Melt 3 tablespoons of  butter and one tablespoon of oil in a saucepan, add the cabbage, and cook gently, covered, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender but not coloured. Make a white sauce with the remaining butter, flour and milk, seasoned with salt and pepper. Put half the cabbage in an oven-proof casserole. Cover with half the white sauce and sprinkle over half the cheese. Season with generously with pepper. Add the rest of the cabbage, then the remaining white sauce and cheese. Cook, uncovered, in an oven pre-heated to gas mark 4/180° C for about half an hour.  




400gr cooked potatoes, roughly mashed

300-400gr cooked cabbage or spinach, roughly chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

3 cm ginger root, peeled and grated

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2-3 tablespoon sunflower or peanut oil, salt, pepper

Peel, cook and roughly mash the potatoes, and leave to get cool.  Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the chopped onion and cook stirring for about 5 minutes, without burning. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli, and cook for a further minute or two. Add the potato, cabbage or spinach, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with the spices and onion. Fry gently for 5-10 minutes, then place under a grill so that the top becomes golden and crunchy (or reverse onto a plate and slide back into the pan so as to cook the other side).     


Detail from painting by David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690)



1 kg red cabbage

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

¼ teaspoon each thyme, caraway seeds, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon

2-3 tablespoon butter or goose fat

half a glass red wine

1-2 tablespoons wine vinegar

3 eating apples, eg coxes, peeled and sliced

1-2 tablespoons sugar

salt, pepper

Slice the cabbage finely, eschewing the core and biggest stalks. Warm through in the butter for 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped onion and garlic, thyme, spices, wine, vinegar, salt, pepper and half a glass of water. Cook gently, covered, for 1 hour. Add the apples and sugar, and cook for another hour or so, making sure all liquid is evaporated before serving.





"A kail-blade, or a colliflour, glances sae glegly by moonlight, it's like a leddy in her diamonds."

Walter Scott, Rob Roy (1829).




1 small cauliflower

1½ tablespoons butter

1 slice bread, crust removed and crumbled into breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

salt, pepper

Divide the cauliflower into florets. Cook in salted boiling water until soft, drain and keep warm. Fry the breadcrumbs in the butter until well browned. Add the garlic and parsley and fry a couple of seconds more. Pour over the cauliflower, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.




1 small cauliflower

200-250gr Italian peeled plum tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 oz/60gr breadcrumbs

1-2 oz/50gr black olives, stoned and roughly chopped

parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper

Soften the onion and half the garlic in a little olive oil. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopped, 2 tbsp chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, until thick. Cut the cauliflower into florets and boil for 5 minutes in salted water. Drain and arrange in an oven-proof dish. Mix together the breadcrumbs, chopped olives, 2 more tbsp chopped parsley, salt, pepper and enough olive oil (about 2 tbsp) to give the mixture some cohesion. Pour the tomato sauce round the cauliflower and top with the breadcrumb mixture. Cover with foil and cook for 20-30 minutes in an oven pre-heated to gas mark 6/200° C. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.



1 large cauliflower, divided into florets

1 onion, peeled and chopped

200gr plain yoghurt

1 dessertspoon each cumin and coriander seeds, roasted and ground

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 pinch chilli powder

sunflower or peanut oil, salt

Cook the cauliflower in boiling water until barely done. Brown the onion lightly in some oil. Add the turmeric and chilli powder and cook for a further minute or two. Stir in the yoghurt, salt, cumin and coriander. Add the cauliflower and cook gently for a further 5-10 minutes.




This is adapted from a Madhur Jaffray recipe.

1 small cauliflower, broken into florets

200mg chopped Italian plum tomatoes (from a tin)

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

2 cm piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped or a big pinch of chilli powder/cayenne pepper

Pinch of ground turmeric

1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds

1-2 tablespoons cream

2-4 tablespoons strong cheddar, grated

Vegetable oil, salt


Cook the cauliflower in salted boiling water until just done. Sizzle the cumin seeds in a little oil until they are turning brown. Add the tomatoes, chilli, spices and salt. Cook gently for 5- 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook for a couple of minutes more. Pour the cauliflower and sauce into an oven-proof dish. Pour over the cream. and sprinkle the cheese on top. Brown under the grill and serve.




A version of a very popular Spanish tapa.

500gr/1 lb spinach

250gr /½  lb cooked chickpeas

2-4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

2 shallots or an onion, peeled and chopped

½-1 teaspoon ground cumin

½-1 teaspoon ground coriander

300gr tinned plum tomatoes, chopped

salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice

Cook the spinach in a small amount of boiling water for a few minutes, drain and press the water out, and then chop it roughly. Soften the shallots in some olive oil without colouring. Add the garlic and spices and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the chickpeas; cook for a further minute; then add the tomatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes to evaporate any excess liquid from the tomatoes (it can be cooked in advance up to this stage). Add the spinach and cook very gently, covered, for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and a tablespoon of lemon juice.




The British tend to aim for sprouts that are quickly and lightly cooked so that they keep their fresh flavour and green colour, not least because of those awful memories of over-cooked sprouts at institutional meals. But in France there is a tradition of braised sprouts, which end up looking and tasting quite different, but just as good in their way.


300-400gr Brussels sprouts

2 rashers bacon, derinded if necessary

1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed

Pinch of caraway seeds (optional)

Olive oil, butter, salt, pepper


Trim the Brussels sprouts (not too much, the outer leaves have a good flavour), and cut a deep cross in their bottoms. Dice the bacon. Heat a mixture of oil and butter in a frying-pan into which the sprouts will fit in one layer. Add the diced bacon and cook gently for a few minutes. Add the sprouts, the garlic, caraway seeds, salt and pepper and stir around so that the sprouts are coated with oil. Add enough water to come about half-way up the sprouts. Bring to the boil and simmer briskly, covered, for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so until all the water has evaporated and the sprouts are very soft, turning the heat up or down as necessary. Do not let the sprouts cook for more than 40 minutes in total or they will develop an unpleasant overcooked cabbage flavour.