There are two cabbage rolls recipes in the archive of my other blog. One has chicken filling, served with white sauce and topped with grated cheese. The other is the more traditional version, stuffed with ground pork and simmered in tomato sauce. Little did I know that stuffed cabbage, or cabbage rolls, are served as a soup in Vietnam. Much as I like cabbage rolls served with sauce, red or white, I must say that as a soup, cabbage rolls are much, much better. The light broth makes you appreciate the subtle sweetness of the cabbage leaves more and the inclusion of cilantro in the filling gives the cabbage rolls a refreshing flavor that you really have to experience to understand.
The recipe from Vietnamese Cooking Made Easy on which I based mine contained shrimps which I had to exclude because of an allergy. I also added carrots to my cabbage rolls filling.
15 to 18 white cabbage leaves
500 g. of ground pork
8 shallots or 2 large white onions
3 cloves of garlic
3 tbsps. of sliced cilantro
patis (fish sauce)
freshly ground black pepper
15 to 18 spring onion leaves
8 to 10 cups of homemade broth
Cooking procedure :
For detailed instructions on how to soften and prepare the cabbage leaves, please refer to the radical cabbage rolls entry in the archive.
Blanch the spring onion leaves in boiling water for a few seconds to wilt. Rinse well.
Peel and finely chop the shallots (or onions) and carrot.
Crush, peel and finely mince the garlic.
Place the ground pork in a bowl and add the chopped shallots, carrot, garlic and cilantro. Season with patis and ground pepper.
Lay a cabbage roll flat, the core end nearest you. Place 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls of filling at the center of the cabbage leaf. Take the edge nearest you, fold over the filling. Take the side edges and fold in. Roll the whole thing outward to close and seal. Take a piece of spring onion leaf and use it to tie the cabbage roll. Repeat until all the cabbage leaves are stuffed and tied.
In a large cooking pot, bring the broth to a boil. Drop the cabbage rolls one by one. Wait until the broth is boiling once more then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.