Dirt to Table Experience: Asian Cabbage Rolls
PUBLISHED ON: 01.11.2013
My random thoughts are endless, and to prove it, I was recently pondering cabbage rolls. How did I come to love stuffed cabbage rolls? Where did I learn to make them ? Scary stuff isn’t it?
In my late teens, I worked at a popular retail department store along side a much older woman named Alice. Alice was a feisty Polish-American woman who never forgave her husband for passing away before their 50th Wedding Anniversary. I adored her. Every potluck event she provided stuffed cabbage rolls, and each time she reminded me that the best cabbage rolls were made with tomato juice, not tomato sauce, and raisins, not brown sugar. At the time it meant absolutely nothing to me. Turn the clock forward, and I realize that I have been making Alice’s stuffed cabbage recipe for close to thirty-years. I am always struck by the influences which at the time seem uneventful, with no meaning that somehow later in life have real meaning and influence.
This year I took a walk on the wild side. I was inspired to make a new style of cabbage rolls. With that mind, I took a boldly flavored pork filling using a host of Chinese flavors including, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, cilantro, chili garlic sauce and baked the cabbage rolls, tightly foiled, in a savory broth. What I got was a nutritionally dense cabbage roll, that had the Asian flavors of a spring egg roll that had been steamed and dipped into the sweet chili garlic sauce.
Definitely not your mothers cabbage rolls but, still delicious. If you are looking for something a little different with a little more pizzaz but not more comfort, then I encourage you to go for it.
I like the way these look.
Schnitzel and the Trout
Love your story of the Polish/American woman. And these cabbage rolls with the Oriental influence sound so perfect.
Bravo! These look wonderful and I like the Asian flavors you have in this recipe. It is funny how people pop in and out of our lives.
I can't wait to make these!
Beautiful! Definitely love to bake the cabbage rolls instead as we usually blanch the leaves and wrap in the meat into it then bring to steam… a little too much work 😀
I haven't made cabbage rolls in a really long time. These look very beautifully done and delicious as well. Thanks for sharing, Velva.
Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen
Love your story of Alice and the advice about the tomato juice and raisins. It would have meant nothing to me at the time either, but boy what great memories. Your cabbage rolls sound delish.Sam
I love this tasty version of cabbage rolls, super smart recipe!
It's funny, I think of cabbage rolls as decidedly Eastern European and Lettuce wraps as decidedly Asian, but in truth, they're kind of the same thing.
Great story and a wonderful spin on the usual stuffed cabbage. Even if it doesn't use raisins and tomato juice, ha ha.
Really nice take on cabbage rolls. Not that my little old Polish great-grandmother would agree 😉
SavoringTime in the Kitchen
What a wonderful story, Velva. Alice must have been a wonderful friend and influence on you.I love your Asisn-inspired cabbage rolls and would likely enjoy these much more than traditional cabbage rolls.
Fresh Local and Best
This reminds me of cabbage egg rolls. The combination is exciting and perhaps a good dish for Chinese New Year. Looks delicious!
Way to get out on the wild side Velva.
Karen (Back Road Journal)
What a great idea…I always make my cabbage rolls the way my grandmother did. I like the Asian spin.
My Swedish born grandmother made the best cabbage rolls. You've inspired me to try to recreate them. I love the Asian spin.
Your cabbage rolls looks delicious! I love cabbage, I always have a head of cabbage in my fridge, great for most dishes! Have a great and delicious week ahead!
This is certainly a different twist on the cabbage roll. I know I would love it, but not sure about my guys. I loved the story behind your introduction to the cabbage roll. I also have great memories of the traditional cabbage roll dish in our family. My mom is famous (in the family) for her version of them. I follow her footsteps and make them too.
Very creative and it's always great to try new ways to prepare a dish. These look great and healthy.
Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
This is really a nice post Velva. Always like hearing about people from the past who have influenced our cooking. Alice is the kind of person I'd love to meet. I've never made cabbage rolls and have always wanted to. Have you ever posted her original recipe? Being a cabbage lover, I'm sure I'd love your asian version.
Magic of Spice
What a great change up…fantastic flavors! It's great to branch out and experiment a bit, I bet they were delicious!
i need these cabbage rolls in my life. they look so fresh and healthy, not to mention packed with flavor!
My mother made them all the time, but as I recall she covered them in some sort of tomato sauce. I love these, Velva! Great flavors and no tomato sauce.
Miss Meat and Potatoes
You know – I think I cold weather (for TX anyway) made me blow right on through all my comfort foods and I'm now craving all Asian all the time. This is PERFECT and I suppose still very comforting but in a lighter, fresher way. Thanks for reading my mind Velva!
I was recipe planning last night and cabbage rolls made the list. So happy to find this recipe. I'm definitely going to try this version. They sound delicious!
They do look wonderful. And I love Alice's story too……thank you for sharing our vulnerabilities, as well as a great recipe!
What a new, fun take on cabbage rolls. I will confess to never making them – growing up Italian – it was not instinct. But I do love them at my favorite Ukranian restaurant! The Asian flavors are inspired.
I have never thought to do cabbage rolls before. I love cabbage- the texture and crunch it has and this would be the perfect substitute for bread. LOVE THIS SO MUCH. I love hearing more about your life and growing up and the story of Alice. So many people have end up having such an impact on our lives without us realizing it at that point in time
This is an excellent recipe. I have seen meat rolled in cabbage before but this is different and very inventive. I love the mushroom filling.Bookmarking this one. Great presentation too!
Awesome recipe!! I have so many of your recipes saved it's crazy…lol!
Growing up in Western PA I was able to have a lot of cabbage rolls and I love them! I am thankful for the Polish settlers in that part of the state who introduced me to cabbage rolls, haluski and pierogies. This version looks really tasty too.
We have been getting oversized cabbages here and I have been doing my share of stuffing leaves. This recipe sounds wonderful and a welcome change from the usual stuffed cabbage leaves. Love all these flavors!
I love cabbage rolls and these look delicious!
Sprigs of Rosemary
Love this updated version of the cabbage rolls, which I love. (And I also love how you've managed to make the homely things so pretty!)
Cabbage rolls are one of my favorite dishes. I would have them weekly IF my husband would eat them!, this recipe sounds very delicious.
wow!that looks really good!:D
Wonderful version of cabbage rolls,Velva! I love all the flavors!
Ok…this is the second post I looked at since I found your blog and I can tell this is going to be a favorite! You've just helped me plan my menu this week!