I foresee a lot of recipe re-dos if this keeps up.
My mom used to make Canh Bap Cai Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Cabbage Soup) a lot when I was little. Instead of wrapping a scallion to hold everything together though, she shoved a toothpick through each roll. Now that my parents are older and more conscious of their health, they eat a lot more fish and fewer pork dishes. Perhaps she still makes this, but when I'm home, mom cooks more elaborate dishes.
I had forgotten how much I liked the simplicity of this dish until I made this recipe again.
Perfect timing since this month's Weekend Wokking secret ingredient is CABBAGE, as chosen by MomGateway, who hosted the ginger roundup with 8 ginger recipes.
There's really not much too it. The ground pork in the filling will flavor the broth, the natural sweetness of the cabbage will balance it all out. So really, what you've got to rely upon is presentation in order to make this dish shine. The key is to trim down the spines and to lightly blanch the cabbage leaves in order to make them more pliable. Then it becomes a simple matter of tucking and rolling.
Canh Bap Cai Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Cabbage Soup)
For about 4 servings or about a dozen rolls, you'll need:
1 head cabbage
3 scallions, leaves only
1/2 lb ground pork
1 small onion, pureed
2 tsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Optional: 1/4 lb ground shrimp
Pluck the leaves off the scallions. Wash and set aside.
Unless you're saving them for another recipe, puree 1 small onion with the white part of the scallions. Add the onions to the ground pork along with ground shrimp if you wish, 2 tsp of fish sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Set aside.
Set a 5-quart pot of water to boil. By the time the water boils, you should be ready to add the cabbage leaves for blanching.
The easiest way for me to peel off cabbage leaves is to remove the core first. Just shove in a knife at an angle toward the center of the cabbage and go around until you can fully remove the core.
Peel off as many leaves as you can.
Then lightly trim the bottom part of the spines.
When the water boils, add in the cabbage leaves starting with the inner white leaves first since they take longer to cook. Then add the green outer leaves. Finally, add the scallions. The cabbage doesn't need to be cooked, just blanched enough to soften for easier folding. This should only take a few minutes.
With a pair of chopsticks or tongs, remove the cabbage leaves from the pot and drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water to cool down the leaves. Don't toss the cabbage water. You can use that to cook the cabbage rolls later.
Rolling is simple. Just lay out a cabbage leaf, add about a tablespoon or so of the ground pork mixture in the center.
Fold up the bottom.
Tuck in the sides.
Tie off the cabbage roll with a scallion leaf.
When you've finished stuffing all the cabbage leaves, line them at the bottom of a pot. Any extra pork can be rolled into meatballs for the soup, or frozen for later use. Extra cabbage may be added to the soup if you wish.
Pour the previous cabbage water into the pot until the rolls are covered by at least several inches. Add extra water if needed. Place a plate that fits inside the pot to hold the cabbage rolls down.
Cook on medium-low heat for about half an hour or until the pork is cooked through. Taste the broth and add fish sauce if needed.
Serve a few rolls per person as a starter or add rice and make it a meal.
Who else made Vietnamese stuffed cabbage?
Shaved Ice Sundays used napa cabbage and served it with a tomato sauce.
Lan of Angry Asian Creations added shrimp to the filling and served it with fish sauce.
I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks to celebrate the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient. This month's secret ingredient is CABBAGE. The host for November is Graziana of Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs). Check her blog for the cabbage roundup with 10 recipes (once mine gets added).
If you'd like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month. If you've participated in the past and would like to host, please email me.
My other cabbage recipes:
Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Base Stew)
Baechu Kimchee (Korean Pickled Napa Cabbage)
Canh Bap Cai Bac Thao (Vietnamese Napa Cabbage Soup)
Fried Rice with Kimchee and Spam
Goi Ga Bap Cai (Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad)
Kimchee Pajeon (Korean Kimchee Pancake)
Soon Dubu Kimchee Chigae (Korean Soft Tofu Kimchee Soup)
Vegetarian Soon Dubu Jjigae (Korean Tofu Stew)
1 year ago today, the longan tree in my backyard.
2 years ago today, Ciabatta-ish No-Knead Bread.
3 years ago today, Saigon Bistro - Westminster (Little Saigon).