Cabbage Roll


Some women love the bling of jewellery, but I prefer the smell (ok, maybe not all time) noise and colour of the local markets.

The local wet market is a destination for the freshest produce.
I get excited with the wide array of beautiful colours from the vegetables, fruits, fresh seafood and local meat and enjoyed chatting with the vendors and sharing in their pride.

When I travelled, I make it a point to visit the local markets as well. This is where one gets to see and experience a slice of the local culture.
It is no longer a secret that I lug groceries back from the countries I visit.

During a trip to the local wet market, the Red Napa cabbage caught my eyes with its bright purple colour frilled at the edges.
The vendor told me the new vegetable was cultivated last year in Australia and recently brought in to Singapore.
He added that the flavour is slightly different than that of the green variety; it is mild and sweet, not bitter like many other red cabbage varieties.

I have always been keen to try out a new vegetable, exploring various ways to bring out the best of the produce.
I grab hold of one for a colourful take on the cabbage roll.

Don't let the picture fool you, it is easy execution.
It is basically - wraps, fillings and sauce

If you are unable to obtain the purple napa cabbage, the white round type is a great substitute.

The wrap is settled, now we will need a filling for the cabbage.
This recipe calls for a combination of minced beef and pork. You may use one type of meat if you so preferred.

I added saute chopped onions to the meat for texture and the oil(from the saute onion) to keep the meat juicy and from drying out.
Do allow the marinated meat rest in the fridge for about 15 -30 minutes to solidify the fat for easy stuffing.

Now the sauce.
Depends on one preference, one may choose to simmer the cabbage rolls in tomatoes sauce, dashi, vegetable stock or meat stock.
Beef stock was used for this recipe as it happened to be idling in the fridge.

Since this dish keeps well, you can prepare it ahead of time or bring it to a party (as my Japanese neighbour - Maiko did)

By the way, Red Napa cabbage leaves are crisp and crunchy. I know cos I save some for a salad the day after.

I am sure my Japanese neighbour - Maiko will agree with me this is one elegant comfort dish.

You will need:
1 head of cabbage
500gm of minced meat (70% beef, 30% pork)
1 chopped onion, saute with 2 tablespoons of oil
1 egg
salt for boiling the cabbage
2 tablespoons of milk
20 gm breadcrumbs - (optional)
1 cup of stock (dashi, chicken, beef or vegetables)
1 teaspoon of salt
dash of pepper
2 tablespoons of all purpose flour


  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
  2. Submerge the leaves of cabbage in a pot of boiling water and cook till the leaves are pliable.
  3. Remove leaves from pot and soak it in ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
  4. Remove leaves from the water bath and pat dry with kitchen towel.
  5. Separately in a large bowl, mix in the meat with the milk, salt, pepper, saute onion with oil and egg
  6. Mix till well combined. Cover it and placed it in the fridge for about 15 - 30 minutes.
  7. Dust/sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the leaves (this will help the stuffing stick better to the leaves)
  8. You may trim off the stem for easy wrapping.
  9. Starting from the stem, roll tightly upward, tucking in the sides of the leaves as you roll.
  10. Insert the toothpick to secure the roll.
  11. Pour in the beef stock in a large pot and placed the meat roll neatly. Let boil over high heat and switch to medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove roll from the pot, ladle the sauce over the rolls and served.

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