Sri Lankan Cabbage Varai Recipe by

Sri Lankan Cabbage Varai (Stir Fried Cabbage)

This Sri Lankan Cabbage Varai is so simple to make. You’ll be shocked at how delicious good old basic cabbage can taste.

A varai is a Sri Lankan dish made by stir frying any leafy vegetable with spices (and often grated coconut). Cabbage is often overlooked but cook it up this way and you’ll want to eat it time and time again.

Serve it up with other curries like my Coconut Lentil Curry, King Prawn Masala or Creamy Beetroot Curry


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 500g cabbage, shredded (roughly ¼ cabbage)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp shredded coconut*
  • Juice of ½ lime

*You can use desiccated coconut too. In a small bowl, mix it together with a few tablespoons of water. This will rehydrate the coconut. 


  1. Heat the oil in a fry pan on medium heat.
  2. Fry the mustard and cumin seeds for roughly 30 seconds until the seeds start to pop.
  3. Add the chilli flakes, curry leaves and onion. Sauté for a few mins until the onions brown. 
  4. Stir through the garlic, cabbage, turmeric and salt. Cook for around 5-10 mins on medium to low heat until the cabbage shrinks and chars. 
  5. Mix in the shredded coconut and heat through.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir through the lime juice.



  1. Thanks for this simply delicious receipe.
    I would definitely make again.
    Five stars for sure!

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