Friday, September 2, 2011

Pork Cabbage Rolls

Many different cuisines have their own version of stuffed cabbage rolls. It’s most common to the ethnic cuisines of Europe and Asia. The Polish have gołąbki, the Swedish have kaldomar, the Russians have golubtsy and Croatians have sarma just to name a few.

This is a Chinese-Vietnamese style pork cabbage roll. With a Chinese-Vietnamese background I find that some of the dishes I cook do not clearly fall into just one cuisine, there is a mixture of ingredients and techniques used from across the two cuisines. I always like to add in a bit of fish sauce into my stir fries which features heavily in Vietnamese cuisine but is not used in Chinese cuisine, and I use a lot of basic Chinese cooking techniques to cook dishes that have Vietnamese flavours.

Pork stuffing is used in a lot of Chinese dishes including yong tau foo, dumplings, fried spring rolls and steamed buns. The ingredients that make up the pork stuffing in different dishes is similar with slight variations – generally featuring pork mince with various vegetables and seasonings. You can cook the cabbage rolls by steaming them but here I have simmered the rolls in chicken stock seasoned with fish sauce so it has a Vietnamese character and flavours.


•    Chinese cabbage, 10-12 large leaves separated (trim off the spines)
•    Spring onion, 10-12 of the green lengths
•    1 litre chicken stock
•    1 ½ - 2  tablespoons fish sauce
•    salt, white pepper and sugar to taste
Pork Mixture (makes 10-12 pork rolls)
•    300g minced pork
•    25g glass noodles, reconstituted and finely chopped
•    1/3 cup dried black fungus, reconstituted and finely chopped
•    1 teaspoon grated ginger
•    2 cloves grated garlic
•    1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander root/stem
•    1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion (bottom third/mainly the white part)
•    pinch salt, white pepper and sugar
•    1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
•    1 ½ teaspoon light soy sauce
•    1 ½ teaspoon oyster sauce
•    1 tablespoon fish sauce
•    ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
•    ½ teaspoon cornflour
•    1 egg white

(dried black fungus)
(dried black fungus reconstituted with water)
(finely chopped coriander root and stem)


Mix the pork mixture ingredients thoroughly together in a bowl for a few minutes until you develop some elasticity. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Blanching the cabbage leaves and spring onion to soften – Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop the cabbage leaves in a few at a time and remove with chopsticks 2 minutes later, and place into a large bowl of cold water. Drain and cool leaves. Turn the pot of boiling water off, add in the lengths of the spring onions and quickly blanch for about 10-20 seconds, remove with chopsticks and place in a large bowl of cold water. Drain and cool.

Place a tablespoon of the pork mixture at one end of the cabbage leaf and roll, tucking in the edges. Secure the pork cabbage roll by tying it together with the length of the spring onion.

 (pork cabbage rolls ready to be cooked)

Bring to boil the chicken stock in a medium sized saucepan, add in fish sauce and season to taste with salt, white pepper and sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add in the cabbage pork rolls and simmer for ~8 minutes until cooked though. Remove the pork cabbage rolls and place 2-3 rolls in a bowl and spoon some brother over the top and garnish with coriander.

(cooked pork cabbage rolls)

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