Stuffed Cabbage, Asian style

My grandmother was a great cook.

She loved me the best of all the grandchildren (first know how it is), so made me my favorites whenever I visited.

Stuffed cabbage was my number 1.

She made it Jewish style, meaning Ashkenazi (Eastern European) style, with beef, rice, raisins and brown sugar in the mix. Some Bubbes were known to put gingersnaps in the tomato sauce! Sounds gross, but trust me, it was delicious.

I would always get my own personal tray to take home with me.

I had never tried my hand at stuffed cabbage, always thought it best to leave it to the expert grandmas.

So, here I made an Asian version of cabbage rolls and used purple cabbage to be different.

Think lettuce wraps here friends. I am not trying to invent the wheel, just doing my thing.

I didn't even bother boiling the cabbage, I went more for a roasted look. ;)

These were delicious, I was super happy with the results....and I will keep practicing my rolling technique. Probably easier to roll if I boiled (softens the cabbage more).

Here's how I made them:

2 small heads of cabbage, red or green, cored and leaves removed
3/4 cup cooked rice (I used basmati, but any rice is fine)
1 lb. ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp Korean chili sauce (aka Gochujang) (you can use any chili sauce or paste)
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Start by cooking the meat with the carrots, peppers, onions and garlic, until all the pink is out of the meat and the vegetables are soft. About 7 minutes.

Add in the cooked rice and the rest of the ingredients and cook another few minutes. You can make the meat mixture ahead of time.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Oil a casserole dish.

Start rolling your cabbage rolls, by stuffing some filling in the middle of the cabbage leaf and rolling up.
Place each cabbage roll, seam side down in the casserole.

Pour in about a cup of water around the rolls. I left mine uncovered, and cooked 30 minutes.
If you want a more steamed look, then cover with foil.

Sprinkle with chopped scallions and sesame seeds and go to town.



Natalia said…
Stuffed cabbage (holubtsi) is a favorite of Ukrainians. There are several ways to make it, including vegetarian stuffing (rice, mushrooms, onions, garlic) or those with meat (same as vegetarian but with ground meat), and of course there are different sauces, ranging from mushroom sauce or tomato sauce. For me, the hardest part was always rolling up the stuffed cabbage and up until 3 years ago, it always failed.

I'm excited for your recipe with Korean chili sauce and some of the Asian sauces - it sounds amazing and a new taste for me, since I've only had the "traditional" stuffed Ukrainian cabbage.

Joey Merritt said…
Natalia, my daughter was adopted from Ukraine. We had holubtsi quite a bit while we were there. I asked the facilitator for cooking lessons and this is one of the things she taught me to make. PS my daughter's birth name was Natalya. Thank you for sharing. Stories knit us together!
Lisa Faley said…
GREAT idea! Love the cultural mix of flavours. These will appear on my menu soon!
What's funny about stuffed cabbage is I really like it, but my husband, the Ashkenazi Jew doesn't. I remember when we were dating we would often eat at a (now defunct) Polish restaurant in Forest Hills that made a fabulous stuffed cabbage and it's one of the things I miss about the place.

I wonder how he would feel about it roasted rather than boiled. You don't get as much as that boiled cabbage smell that way.

I'll never fault you for wanting to smash together two cuisine concepts. I love doing stuff like that. Bring on the Asian-Jewish cuisine. Gochujang is one of my new spice obsessions (which I discussed in one of my own recent recipe posts). It supplanted sriracha in my spicy sauce love (which in turn supplanted chipotle powder).