Burnt Chili Garlic Cabbage Stir-fry


Of late I have been bitten by a bug. Its called lowcal-carbofication. And its infectious.

This is a condition where the affected is obsessed with the idea of how to convert a  High Calorie/ High Carb meal to a Low Calorie/ Low Carb meal, without compromising on the flavor or the taste. This is how it all began...

A couple of week ago Soma of eCurry posted the recipe of Burnt Chili-Garlic Noodles. I  drooled over the pic, salivated and even tried to sniff the laptop screen. Indo-Chinese cuisine is my absolute favorite and anything with burnt chili-garlic can transform me from a sober individual to a "hungry dog, eyeing a piece of flesh". The next day after finishing my morning chores, I made a pan of this delightful noodles and gobbled down the entire wok, satisfying my soul and my senses. And then, there was this soul shattering incident...

Two hours later my blood sugar read 282!!! The glucometer fell from my hand, shattering into pieces, I pressed my palms to the ears and let out an earsplitting "Naaaahiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!" Okay... none of that melodrama happened. But it was fun imagining it.

On a more serious note, I tried to introspect. I had used whole wheat thin spaghetti instead of the refined egg noodles, then why?

My first mistake was, no portion control. I was so in love with the flavors that I kept eating, even after I was full. The fact that I was home alone and not sharing my meal just added to the problem.

Secondly, whole wheat  does not mean guilt free. Yes! Its a better option than having the refined flour version but it still contains calories and carb. The label said, one serving (2 oz or 56gms or 1/7 of a packet) contains 41 gms of Carbs and 210 calories. I definitely used much more than 1/7 of a pack... one fourth may be. You can do the math. Plus you have to count for the carbs in the veggies (carrots, green peas and green beans)  that I added. No wonder my poor little pancreas could not handle the pressure in spite of an external help of insulin.

Does that mean we can never have spaghetti or noodles. No... but we definitely got to be more careful about the portion. Also it should be more veggies and less noodles and not the other way round.

Coming back to my  lowcal-carbofication, the flavor of burnt chili and garlic kept haunting me and I was tempted to try it again but the 282 was kinda restraining me. Just for the heck, I Googled "how to make low carb spaghetti". I was not expecting any relevant results, but one result said, cooked spaghetti squash mixed with pasta sauce is an excellent and delicious way to get the all the satisfaction and flavors of spaghetti with fraction of carb. That gave me the idea of Burnt Chili Garlic Cabbage Stir-fry.

Growing up, I was never fond of cabbage. Even today, I don't like soft cooked and heavily spiced cabbage. I like it crunchy and hence I make it as a stir-fry. I followed exactly the way you make the noodles. But instead of noodles, I used shredded cabbage. You can use any vegetables or even mixed veggies for this recipe. Even a coleslaw mix works well. This recipe uses very little oil and is somewhat in between a salad and a stir fry. I had it with Quinoa, another low cal, low carb and high protein option.

Recipe Snapshot: Oven Roasted Tomato and Red Lentil Soup 

Serves: 4 serving
(1 serving = 3/4 cup)

What I used:
Cabbage - 1 small head, finely shredded, washed and drained

Onion - 1 medium sized, finely sliced

Garlic - 4 fat or 6 medium sized cloves, minced or super finely chopped

Red Chili flakes - ½ tsp or to taste

Soy sauce - 2 tsp

Rice or White Vinegar - 1 tsp

Salt, if required

Canola or any flavorless oil - 1 tbsp

What I did:
1. In a wok or kadhai heat the oil over medium-low heat and fry the chili flakes till it turns dark brown and you cough heavily.

2. Add the minced garlic and fry till golden brown.

3. Add the onions and crank up the heat to medium high and fry the onions till soft.

4. Now add the finely shredded cabbage and mix well with the chili-garlic-onion fry. Keep stirring and moving them around the pan for a minute.

5. Add the say sauce and the vinegar. The moment the soy hits the cabbage, it will release some moisture. On a high heat keep stirring and moving the things around  so that the moisture evaporates quickly. A minute may be. By this time the cabbage would have been cooked, but it'll still be crunchy.

6. Check for seasoning. If needed ass more salt. For us, the saltiness of the soy sauce was enough.

7. You can have the Burnt Chili Garlic as itself, or as a side to grilled/broiled/baked Chicken or Fish. Or as I had done, on a bed of low-cal Quinoa.

Diabetic Platter:
Cabbage is extremely low low in carbs, fat and calories. 100 g of leaves provide just 25 calories and 10 gms of carb. Its a storehouse of phyto-chemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates. These compounds are powerful antioxidants and known to help protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood. Fresh cabbage is an excellent source of natural antioxidant, vitamin C.It is also rich in essential vitamins such vitamin B-5, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-1. These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish.It also contains a adequate amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
Read more on health benefits of cabbage at http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cabbage.html


  1. Wow!. This Recipes For Stir Fry look very delicious and I'm so excited to taste this recipe. I will list down all the ingredients given here and I will buy it to the market. I will ask my wife to cook this for our dinner. Thank you!.


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