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Cabbage with Muscles: Brussels Sprouts!

Ever seen those cartoon shorts where there is this endearing looking lil baby animal with Bambi eyes looking so helpless? & the BAM!!! it suddenly lunges at you with fangs & claws bared? (Didn't they have such a lizard in Jurassic park as well, timid chirpy thing that squirted a tarry toxin??). Every time I look at a Brussels sprout, that is what comes to mind!
The first instinctive reaction to a brussels sprout is the same as that towards any tender baby vegetable, the expectancy of a delicate & mild texture.. but make no mistake, one feel of an outer leaf from a sprout instantly reminds you of a leafy equivalent of shoe leather!

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This cabbage relative packs a punch in terms of flavor & textural mouth feel. It has a more robust flavor compared to regular cabbage & does not release as much liquid when sauteed. This makes it an ideal vegetable to be roasted or stir fried.
This thanksgiving offering of Brussels sprouts is sauteed in a traditional South Indian Tam bram style. To give it an additional dimension of flavor, I've incorporated a toasted coconut masala (Pitlai masala)to finish the dish. Although not pictured, a handful of crushed toasted salty peanuts tossed in prior to serving kicks this side dish up another notch.

For this dish you need:.

2 cups tightly packed shredded Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal
1 sprig curry leaves
Salt to taste

Pitlai Masala: (Adapted from Viji Varadarajan's  recipe for Pitlai podi from her book SAMAYAL, Page 120 )

Disclaimer: I ran out of coriander seeds & substituted some Dhania Dal, worked great in a pinch!

3 tsp  coriander seeds
1 tsp Chana dal
1.5 dried arbol chillies
pinch of Asafetida powder
2 tsp grated coconut

Toast all the ingredients to a golden brown on a hot skillet. Combine & grind to a coarse powder.


heat oil in a hot wok and add the mustard & Urad dal. When they begin to sputter, add the brussels sprouts along with the torn curry leaves. Saute for 5-7 minutes till the shredded leaves begin to go limp. Add the masala powder & combine well. Transfer into a serving bowl & serve with hot steamed rice.


  1. I love sprouts! I make it like a "thoran", but gotta try this recipe too. ANd have you tried oven-roasted sprouts? YUM!

  2. Thanks Shyamala,
    yep, I have, Was tempted to first roast the sprouts prior to making the stir fry, but didn't want to risk mushing it up..
    & I kinda personally prefer oven roasted sprouts with a touch of Balsamic vinegar which isn't exactly kosher in Southie cuisine!!

  3. Hi Niv, Thanks for the recipe. It was very simple/easy and yet managed to preserve the true flavor of brussel sprouts. I loved it! I am obsessed with Brussel sprouts these days and am going to try the oven roasted method next. Are there any other ways that I could try that will help retain the crunchiness of brussel sprouts?

  4. Hi Santoshi.. Here is another dish I made with BRussels sprouts .. Hope you like it!
    The link to the recipe is here:


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