Cabbage Rolls or stuffed cabbage have a long history and have become one almost universal dish.
The concept comes from the “dorma” in Anatolia (turkey) during the first Century A.D. which were conceived with grape leaves.
Cabbage being a prominent vegetable in Europe, it was only a question of time before cabbage leaves replaced the grape leaves!
The first mention in Japanese history dates back to 1895 when they were called “Rooru Kabetsu/Roll Cabbage” (the other way round!).
They can found in most homes, at oden restaurants and in many other establishments. They are particularly popular in winter when cabbages are everywhere in supermarkets.
The recipe below is the basic one. I will leave to you how to experiment on quantities!
Keep in mind that meat can replaced with tofu, but you will probably needs konbu dashi/seaweed stock.
Choose cabbage leaves of the same size (number depending on servings).
Bring lightly salted water to boil and dip cabbage leaves in water long enough to soften them. Lay the cabbage leaves on a piece of kitchen paper or clean cloth to take off excess water.
Chop some onion very fine and mix it with minced meat of your choice (pork, beef, lamb). Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, clove and pther spices of your liking. Mix well.
Note: I personally add some chopped garlic and tiny cubes of lotus root.
Shape minced meat mixture into elongated balls of the size you wish for stuffing the cabbage. Their length should be equal to the width of your hand (that is, if you are not 7 feet tall!).
Fry them in olive oil until their surface is well cooked (this will prevent unwanted breaking off later). Sprinkle them with a little white wine or Japanese sake for more seasoning.
Place them on a plate and let them cool off completely.
Roll a meat ball in each cabbage leaf.
Bring the ends of the cabbage leaves under the roll and place each roll in the pot as shown on picture above to prevent rolls from moving away (around). If you are not confident, tie some kitchen thread around or secure them with a wooden toothpick, altough this can become very bothersome upon serving and eating.
Fill the pot with a soup made with chicken stock.
This is when you can add a few more spices, but don’t overdo it!
Of course you could could cook it with kimchi for example.
Simmer for about 30 minutes over a medium high fire.
Only then can you scoop the cabbage rolls out.
Keep in mind the soup is great, too!
Here you are! Enjoy!
-If served to children, careful on the spices and garlic!
-Instead of the chicken stock, you may use tonkotsu ramen soup!
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