Recipe by Nitishia Patel

Sambharo (Gujarati Cabbage Stir Fry)

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Parve Parve
Easy Easy
6 Servings

No Allergens specified

Sambharo is a traditional Gujarati vegetarian side dish. It is shredded cabbage and carrot which is stir-fried in a seasoned oil that is flavored with pungent seeds, spices, chillies/chiles and fresh curry leaves. The recipe is super simple to make and is a great replacement for any slaw. I enjoy this dish on its own or alongside any other curry.



  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

  • 1 teaspoon finely diced fresh root ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely diced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 4 green chillies/chiles, slit

  • 25 fresh curry leaves

  • 350 grams/2 and 1/2 cups shredded carrot

  • 425 grams/6 and 3/4 cups grated cabbage

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

  • Naani Maa’s Lemon Pickle (recipe follows), to serve

Naani Maa’s Lemon Pickle

  • 500 grams/1 pound 2-ounce lemons

  • 4 teaspoons rock salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, such as Pereg

  • 2 teaspoons chilli/chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, such as Pereg

  • 1 teaspoon Pereg Ground Ginger

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • a 5-centimeter/2-inch Gefen Cinnamon Stick

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 500 grams/2 and 1/2 cups palm sugar/jaggery

  • a sterilized glass jar fitted with an airtight lid


Prepare the Sambharo


Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds until they crackle and pop. Add the diced ginger and garlic and fry until they become golden-brown.


Add the fennel seeds, chillies/chiles and curry leaves, and mix the whole lot together in the pan. This spiced oil is the main carrier of flavor for the whole dish.


Add the carrot and cabbage and mix well so that the oil coats all of the veg. Because this is a stir-fry dish (and can be eaten as a salad or slaw), you don’t want to overcook the carrot or cabbage. I keep the pan over medium heat for about six minutes, so the veg still has a crunch to it.


Season with salt to taste, then serve with Naani Maa’s lemon pickle (see below).

Prepare the Naani Maa’s Lemon Pickle


As I have mentioned throughout this book, I owe a lot to my grandmother for the cooking techniques and recipes she has taught me. One recipe in particular, which she has nailed, is this lemon pickle. This serves 16.


Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the lemons and boil them whole for eight to 10 minutes or until soft, then drain. Cut each lemon into eight equal wedges and put them in a large mixing bowl (adding all the excess lemon juice as well). Sprinkle over the salt, turmeric, chilli/chili powder, ground coriander, cumin and ginger. Mix well.  


Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, add the cinnamon stick and cumin seeds and allow to sizzle and crackle. Add the fennel seeds and toss in the hot oil for 20 seconds. Pour this over the lemons and mix well. Set aside.


Add the palm sugar/jaggery and two tablespoons of water to a separate pan and mix well. Set over a low heat and allow the sugar to melt slowly.  


Once the sugar has become a syrup, add the marinated lemon wedges along with the seasoned oil and any excess juices which may have been released. Mix well and simmer gently for two minutes. Do not allow the lemons to boil as the pickle will become bitter.


Store the lemon pickle in the sterilized glass jar fitted with an airtight lid. It should last for up to three months at room temperature – once opened, store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


From My Indian Kitchen: Traditional & Modern Recipes for Delicious Home-Cooked Food by Nitisha Patel, Ryland Peters & Small.   Photography Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small 2017, 2024.   Purchase on Amazon

Sambharo (Gujarati Cabbage Stir Fry)

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