Cabbage noodles

February 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm (Cruciferous rich, Jewish, Starches, unrated, Website / blog)

In college I roomed with my best friend from high school.  She was also a vegetarian, and trying to keep kosher to boot.  Unlike me, she was lucky to have a grandmother that was a) still around, b) in town, and c) a good cook.  Her grandmother was Hungarian and would regularly stock our mini-fridge with various vegetarian Hungarian dishes.  My roommate was kind enough to share her grandma’s food with me.  One of the dishes that I remember fondly is “cabbage noodles.”   Despite the name, the noodles aren’t actually made from cabbage.  As far as I recall, the dish was simply lots of rich, oily cabbage mixed with curly egg noodles and plenty of salt and some black pepper.  I don’t know what kind of fat Sarah’s grandmother used to cook the noodles, but I recently found a recipe on Salon for noodles and fried cabbage, or “Hungarian ice cream” that seemed similar, and it calls for butter.The recipe calls for 1 pound of pasta and 1 medium to large head of green cabbage.  I’m not sure what a medium to large head of green cabbage is, but I had two rather small heads.  One was savoy cabbage and weighed about 8 ounces after removing the core.  The other was normal green cabbage and weighed about 1.5 pounds after removing the core.  When I added the cabbage to my 12 inch skillet I discovered that 2 pounds of sliced cabbaged is about the maximum that will fit.  My German butter isn’t salted, so I added salt along with the butter. I know the recipe author urges the reader not to try to make it healthier.  But I just couldn’t add 4 Tbs. of butter per serving.  I added 4 ounces of butter, and the dishes wasn’t incredibly, decadently rich, but it was certainly still plenty greasy.  The cabbage was caramelized a little, and sweet, without any strong sulfur smells.  I thought the ratio of pasta to cabbage was too high though.  I enjoyed the dish, but it wasn’t quite as good as I remember Sarah’s grandma’s version being.  Also, it made a huge amount.  If I make this again I think I’ll use 12 ounces of pasta, 2 pounds of cabbage, and 4 ounces of butter, to serve 8.

Derek thought the recipe was okay, but a little bland.  He wasn’t too enthusiastic when we ate it with dinner the first night, but he was more excited about it after adding soy sauce.  I used some of the leftovers in a mushroom, fennel soup, and it was a lovely combination.


  1. Diane Radin said,

    Thanks for reminding me to make cabbage noodles again. I haven’t for a long time – maybe because the house smells like cabbage for days afterward. My mother probably used pareve margarine since she usually served cabbage noodles as a side dish at a meat meal. I am sure she did not use excessive amounts of fat. The cabbage cooks down a lot. I never used a recipe for this, just a frying pan full of cabbage for a pound of noodles.
    On another note – I recall that you and Sarah were both at my 50th birthday party. I am having a party Tuesday for my 2^6 power birthday and wish you could both be here for it.
    I send my love, Diane

    • captious said,

      Thanks Diane for your comment. If you get around to making cabbage noodles sometime in the near future, let me know how much cabbage and fat you use, and if you add any other ingredients. Have a great birthday!

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