Cabbage Stew (Kapuska) Recipe

This is a simple wintery cabbage stew that is common across Eastern Europe. Turkey and Russia. The name comes from Russian word for cabbage and it is known to be the dish for the poor. This popular hearty stew has many versions but below recipe shows you the basic foundation of it. You may want to add barley, rice or bulgur for a nourishing dish.  If you thought you didn’t like cabbage; this Turkish cabbage stew recipe could be the one that changes all that.


Total Time: 75 m I Prep: 15 m I Cook: 60 m I Difficulty: Moderate


Serves 4


  • 1 medium sized white cabbage, thick stem removed, washed and roughly chopped
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp red pepper paste (we like the hot pepper paste from a brand called Melis which is available in many Turkish off-licences)
  • 500 ml hot water (this is approximate depending on how thick you want your juices)
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds (or dried cumin)
  • 1 tsp hot chilli flakes (more the merrier)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of sumac (optional), salt and pepper for seasoning


  • In a large saucepan gently heat your pan then add your olive oil, cumin seeds and garlic.
  • Stir for a few minutes until the smell comes out and add your cabbage. Stir well around 2-3 minutes. As the cabbage heats, it will lose its volume.
  • Now add your tomatoes to the pan, mix and simmer for around 5 more minutes before adding your dried mint and chilli flakes.
  • Add your pepper paste and stir until the paste has dissolved into the mixture.
  • Now add your hot water, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cover.
  • Add salt and pepper and juice of half a lime. Simmer for around 45 minutes to 1 hour until your cabbage is really soft. You can either reduce the juices down or add more water if you want it to be more like a soup.
  • Serve in a large bowl with fresh Greek Yoghurt, pinch of sumac, thinly sliced green onions and juice of the remaining half of a lime.

Pure comfort!