Garlic Cabbage Leaves, Sri LankaGarlic Cabbage Leaves, Sri Lanka Here in Sri Lanka, we have a type of leaf that’s locally called a cabbage leaf. I don’t know if it’s a close relative to cabbage or not, but it sure looks like it to me, so I’m happy to go along with that assessment. 🙂 The cabbage leaves are rather tough when raw, but cooked this way, they end up being soft and flavourful.

This is another recipe Fahim’s mom taught me. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of cabbage, but this is another recipe that won me over.

Mama Farook’s Garlic’d Cabbage Leaves

IngredientsGarlic Cabbage Leaves, Sri Lanka
Garlic Cabbage Leaves, Sri LankaGarlic Cabbage Leaves, Sri Lanka

  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2-3 green chillies, minced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups shredded cabbage leaves


  1. Add oil to a hot pot, then add curry leaves, onion, and green chillies and temper for a minute or two.
  2. Add the garlic and salt, mix thoroughly, then add the cabbage leaves and let cook, stirring occasionally.
  3. The cabbage is done when the leaves are wilted and dark green, about 3-5 minutes.


I use virgin coconut oil for an authentic Sri Lankan taste. If you don’t have coconut oil, use any unflavoured oil.

If you do not have curry leaves, omit. There is no substitute.

Use any hot pepper that you like, seeded or not as you prefer. If you prefer it less spicy, you can use less or omit.

I chop up the stems of the cabbage leaves, but not the thick central stem of the plant. I also use other leaves, like raddish, beet, rutabaga, or any other edible vegetable leaf, either in combination with the cabbage leaves or by themselves.

This is an easy dish to put together quickly, and the garlic and green chillies gives the cabbage a great flavour.

6 Replies to “Sri Lankan Garlic’d Cabbage Leaves”

    1. These cabbage leaves are tough, so a head cabbage would be closer to this. You could use a bok choy with the understanding that it will have a very short cooking time. Yes, either could be substituted. 🙂

      Really, you could also use beet leaves, rutabaga leaves, kohlrabi leaves, or any other kind of sort of medium to tough leafy vegetable. I would not, for example, use leaf lettuce – it would wilt into oblivion. I’ve used this same recipe for other leaves as mentioned above, like beet, radish, and the like. It has a different flavour from the leaves, of course, but the garlic goes so well with all that I’ve tried. 🙂

  1. Hi Laurie,

    so nice to see a Canadian who is inspired by our local food varieties. I’m a Sri Lankan who loves cooking healthy dishes. most of your recipes helped me a lot to get points from my Husband. :). He doesn’t like to Cabbage leaves. But I love them. I made them using this recipe yesterday and he loved it thanks to you. So girl. Keep up the good work.


  2. Avanthi,

    It’s easy to be inspired by Sri Lankan cuisine – it’s among the best in the world. 🙂

    Glad to hear the recipe worked out well for you. 🙂

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