When the days lengthen and the jacaranda starts showing off its purple hues upcountry, it is springtime on Maui!  

Living in a place where the change in seasons is subtle at best, I find it necessary to celebrate change and usher in the new season with the different offerings that come from the ‘aina.  Cabbages are the harbingers of spring and sadly, it is often overlooked as a “last veggie to eat in the fridge” item but I am happy to sing the praises of this member of the cruciferous family of veggies—boasting high levels of folate, fiber, vitamins A and K and more.  A high-temperature roast brings out the greatness of cabbage. Paired with a light coconut sauce simmered with aromatics and finished with a minty gremolata, this not only looks good enough to eat but celebrates the fresh flavors and bounty of your spring garden.  

Coconut Sauce

Over medium-high heat, melt 2 tbsp of coconut oil, then add:

1 tbsp curry paste
1 tbsp minced lemongrass
1 tbsp minced shallot 
Add 1 can full-fat coconut milk, then 1 tbsp coconut sugar 
Juice of 1 lime, fish sauce or shoyu to taste

Core 1 purple cabbage and dice into 1-inch chunks, combine with Kula sweet onion and heirloom carrot. Cherry tomatoes, kale,  bok choy, and bell pepper are some nice additions that take around the same time to cook. Give the veggies a nice gloss with some coconut or avocado oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 15 minutes with only the cabbage, carrot, and onion, then add the rest of your medley for the last 10 minutes for a total of 25 minutes.  

Combine your roasted veggies with coconut sauce, then whip up your gremolata. 

Mint Gremolata

2 cups mint leaves, no stems, cleaned, dried 
2 cloves garlic- micro-planed or minced very fine 
½ -¾ tsp salt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon 
2 tbsp of Avocado oil 

Temper the garlic by squeezing a lemon and zest into a small dish, and add minced garlic and salt. Dice up your mint, nice and fine using your sharpest knife.  Add to the lemony garlic salt mixture, drizzle with oil. Prepare rice and add a tbsp of powdered or fresh turmeric and 1 tsp of salt to your rice cooker to give it that gorgeous golden hue. Serve veggies over golden steamed jasmine rice and top with your mint gremolata.  

Maja Liotta is a private chef and culinary instructor. She is the mother of three awesome kids. She resides in Haku and loves surfing, dancing, and eating. Mauiprivatecharterchef.com and Instagram @chefmajaliotta.