Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cabbage Rolls - Asian Spiced

For cabbage rolls with Asian flavor try this recipe.  I placed the finished rolls on a nest of julienne carrots, zucchini, onion and bean sprouts instead of noodles or rice.   It made for a lite and flavorful dish.  When the garlic, onions and ginger hit the saute pan, the house was aromafied attracting the occupants to the kitchen like politicians to a microphone.  It takes some prep (15 - 20 minutes) and cook time (45 - 50 minutes), so give yourself a couple of hours and a good bottle of wine.  You don't need to add much if any salt, because the mushroom soy and fish sauce brings a lot of salty goodness.

The Line Up

The wrap:

Head of green cabbage or any other that you like.

1 lb ground pork
1/2 tbs butter
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs canola oil
1/2 cup fine chop carrots
1/2 cup fine chop mushroom
1/2 cup fine chop green cabbage
1/2 yellow sweet onion
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
2 tsp mushroom soy
2 tbs fish sauce
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked Jasmine rice
3 -4 dried red chili pods
2 - 3 tsp Sriracha
Chicken stock for pan roasting

Vegetable nest:
Julienne carrots - 2 cups
Julienne zucchini - 2 cups
1/2 onion thinly sliced
2 - 3 cups bean sprouts
Zest of a lemmon
Juice of a lemom
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

The Fixin Part
Make the rice - 1 cup Jasmine rice, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 tsp butter, pinch of salt.  Bring water to a boil, stir in rice, butter and salt, turn heat to low and cover for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit covered.

In a large skillet, melt butter with canola and sesame oil on medium high heat.  Toss in garlic, ginger and chili pods to flavor oil until garlic starts to lightly brown.  Add yellow onion and saute until  they are clear.  Add pork, and while browning add mushroom soy, fish sauce and Sriracha.  Add in carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms.  Saute for about 5 - 8 minutes and adjust to taste with soy, fish sauce and Sriracha.  Place into a large bowl and add Jasmine rice.  Add some at a time until you got the right balance.  The rice will soak up some juice, so don't add too much.  Set the filling aside.
Cabbage Rolls - Clean, core, and place head in a large bowl.  Boil enough water to pour over and cover the head.  Soak covered for about 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Peel off a large leaf.  You may want to cut off the extra large vein so it rolls easier.  Place some filling in the middle, roll, fold ends in and set on a plate.  Think about your college days and roll some phaties.  Make as many that will fit back into your skillet.  You will have enough filling for two skillets of rolls.  Either save the left over filling for another day or have more friends over.

Set your skillet on medium high, melt some butter, a tsp of sesame oil, tsp canola oil and a squirt or two of Sriracha.  Cram as many rolls in there as you can, turn heat to medium low, add about a cup of chicken stock, lay lemon grass on top (lightly crush lemon grass so it releases its flavor better) cover and let simmer for 45 - 50 minutes.  You many want to add some stock to be sure things aren't drying out in there.  You will end up with a thin sauce to drizzle over rolls when plating.  You could mix some corn starch with chicken stock to thicken if you like, I chose to stick with a thin sauce.  Remove cover and simmer while you saute the vegetable nest.  This will allow the liquids to condense a bit.

Vegetable Nest - In a large saute pan, melt butter with sesame and canola oil.  At medium high saute garlic and chili pods to release their aroma (just a couple of minutes).  Then add onions and saute until clear.  Add the carrots and few minutes later add zucchini.  Mix in soy, lemon zest.  Add the bean sprouts and saute for just a few minutes, add lemon juice.  Add soy to taste, sprinkle in toasted sesame seeds and remove from heat.

Plate the vegetable nest and pile on cabbage rolls with juices from skillet.  Enjoy!

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