Chefs' Recipes

O Tama Carey's cabbage mallung

Fresh coconut and warm spices feature in O Tama Carey's cabbage mallung, a common dish in Sri Lankan meals. Serve it alongside her black braised brisket.

By O Tama Carey
  • 10 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
  • Print
"Most meals in Sri Lanka are made up of an array of dishes and more often than not feature a mallung," says Carey. "Mallung is a shredded vegetable dish that's lightly cooked, generally without fat of any kind, with fresh coconut and any array of spices and chilli, almost like a warm salad. There is a huge range of bitter, medicinal and wild greens that you can use. This recipe is a very simple cabbage version with butter and only very gently spiced."


  • 30 gm butter
  • 3 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 300 gm white or Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (¼ small)
  • 75 gm freshly grated coconut (see note) (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Lime or lemon juice, to serve


  • 1
    Heat a wide frying pan over high heat. Throw in the butter and mustard seeds and stir until seeds start to pop (1-1½ minutes). Add cabbage and coconut and stir well. Season heavily, making sure to use a good amount of pepper. After a few minutes, add turmeric and keep stirring. Check for seasoning and cook for another minute or so until the cabbage is nicely wilted, but still has a little crunch (6-8 minutes). Add juice to taste, stir to combine and serve.


Happily, you should be able to find frozen fresh grated coconut in Asian grocers if you don't want to grate your own. Failing that, substitute desiccated coconut, but you'll need to add a splash or two of water as you cook.

  • undefined: O Tama Carey