Put the cabbage into a large saucepan with the water, cover and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain, return to the pan, set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small nonstick frying pan and add the urad dhal, mustard seeds and chilli. Stir-fry for 1–2 minutes and when the dhal turns light brown add the curry leaves. Fry, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Pour the spiced oil over the cabbage, stir in the coconut, season with salt and pepper and serve hot.