Monday, April 26, 2010

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - with an Asian Twist

I mentioned that there is a lot of ground beef that comes with the quarter cow, did I not? Something like 17 lbs. Which is probably fine for most people, but it's certainly a challenge for me, I'm just not that much of a ground meat person.... So what to do today? Cabbage rolls? Urgh, I used to hate them when I grew up. Boring tastes, cabbagy and with a slimy sauce. Not mine.

What to do? Adapting the filling for the egg dumplings sounded like a good idea. And then steaming instead of sauteing. Let's go for it!

Start with a head of cabbage, put it in a big pot of boiling water, take it out after 10 minutes, peel off the outermost layers, carefully so they don't break, put back in the boiling water, repeat. I had a very small cabbage, and it yielded about 20 leaves.

Next: The filling. About a half pound of ground beef, finely chopped mint, a shallot, a teaspoon of oyster sauce and some salt. Wrap it into your softened cabbage leaves, and put them in the steamer for 20 minutes.


I had another half pound of meat, which I tried to use as a stuffing for tofu, which miserably failed, so I ended up stir frying everything: Tofu, beef, ginger, a half jalapeno, ginger, garlic, a handful peanuts, some Sichuan pepper, some asparagus. There are two tricks to stir frying:

  • Heat up your wok to the point that it smokes. Then lower the heat and add oil. Not the other way around....
  • Once you have stir fried everything, add your flavoring - in my case black bean sauce - and a bit of water, then put the lid on and wait 30 seconds to a minute for the flavors to mingle. Now you have a wonderful sauce, and no need for cornstarch.
This pretty much guarantees perfect results no matter what you put in, in the easiest case you take some garlic, some leafy greens, some soy sauce, and you have a great side dish.

The cabbage rolls were nice and crispy and fresh tasting, thanks to the mint, and the stir fry was a good contrast in textures, especially together with the cabbage rolls.

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