The novelty of eating with our hands never gets old. Handheld foods offer a quick and easy way to get a bite on the go and prove that good things definitely come in small packages. Although bite-sized, they are loaded with an array of surprising flavors and varying textures, luring even the most seasoned chefs into creating their own versions. Handheld foods are also the solution to our busy, jammed packed lifestyles, where the most nutrient-dense and nourishing foods must be both accessible and able to be consumed in a moment’s notice. These convenient little cabbage cups from Kankana of Playful Cooking fit the bill. They’re light, fresh and crisp, while also practical and healthy, perfect for a mid-day lunch, springtime picnic or girl’s get-together. Here’s the inspired chef herself with a few culinary notes and words of wisdom coming from her homeland of Bangalore, India…

This protein packed, crunchy salad could be a great start to start your clean diet. It’s fast to prepare and is completely fuss-free. The sweetness from grilled corn along with the creaminess of paneer goes perfectly well with the crunchy green gram sprouts. And the tangy yogurt sauce is the perfect dressing to balance the flavor all-around. I used red cabbage in the salad but lettuce would be a great choice too.

For people who are not aware of paneer, it is an un-aged fresh cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice. It does not melt and is a good source for healthy protein. While it’s most commonly used in India to make different kinds of curry, it’s also quite tasty when tossed in a salad.

Mint Yogurt + Sprout Cabbage Cups


1 cup plain yogurt, organic
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
head of red cabbage, par boiled and leaves removed
2 cups roughly chopped paneer
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 ear of organic corn, grilled and kernels removed
1 medium red onion or couple of shallots, finely chopped
1 cup green gram sprouts
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges to drizzle on top
sea salt
oil (coconut, sesame, grapeseed)


Add mint leaves, cilantro leaves and yogurt in a blender and give it a mix. Add salt as per taste and the sauce is ready. Keep it aside to be used later.

Bring a pot of water to boil and dip the entire cabbage head for a few minutes. It will make it easy to pull out the leaves. It also softens the leaves, making it easy to bite. Keep the leaves aside once done.

In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and add roughly chopped paneer along with cumin powder, chili powder and salt to taste. Sauté it for a few minutes.

In a bowl, add the sautéed paneer along with grilled corn kernels, red onions, green gram sprouts and cilantro. Add a little bit of salt and give it a mix.

When you are ready to serve, pour a couple spoonfuls of the paneer and corn salad on the cabbage cups, squeeze a little lemon juice on top, followed by few teaspoons of the yogurt sauce.

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