This dish was pretty darn tasty. The cabbage flavor was a little too strong us - it tasted a lot like mellow brussels sprouts -but a very generous dousing of lemon juice seemed to fix this. I also added some chili powder because we like a little kick. I agree that the full amount of water would have been too soupy. I started with about 4 1/2 cups and the texture was nice. Cooking times were accurate and the meatier parts of cabbage held their firmness well. The dish was ver satisfying. We will be making this recipe again!
The only substitution I made in this recipe was to use ghee instead of olive oil (which isn't very Indian!) and I used home made curry powder (from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe). It was good and not difficult to make. It's always a good thing when you don't have to remember to soak the dal! We had it with rice, which was a good thing becaue it's a very wet dal - more of a soup really. Next time I'll start off with only 3 cups of water and add more if it needs it.