It’s getting dark, cold, and RAINY in the Bay Area. Yes, this fall is exceptionally rainy, and it rains cats and dogs, and that’s not enough, as if all the animals are falling from the sky. And I heard that those people in Colorado, Nebraska etc. already had 6 inches on snow, in early October? Not just global warming, the weather is strange lately.
On an evening like that, and especially when I’m recovering from sickness, one thing I crave for is stuffed cabbage.
Believe it or not (I might have said that before), 99% of Japanese housewives cook Japanese, other Asian, as well as European origin food as normal repertoire. At least the last 50 years, that has been the norm. Japanese are known to adopt great things from other countries and improve it to make it more efficient, like cars and electronics. And maybe not as well known fact outside of Japan, but food is definitely one of them. We Japanize it with the ingredients that are available in Japan, and make it our own.
So, when I was little, and get sick, one of the things I craved for was “Rolled Cabbage” which is stuffed cabbage. Not just at my house, but ask 100 Japanese, whether they live in Japan or elsewhere, I can guarantee majority will say “I make them once in a while.” We even have Japanese version, which often is found in oden, Japanese pot-au-feu.
The problem with Stuffed cabbage is it takes quite a long time to make it from scratch. But through my Kitchen Wizarding Process, I found a very easy way, that only takes about half or less time, and as tasty!
Plus my version uses mirepoix as its base, and not much meat, so it’s super healthy. If you are vegetarian, or vegan, omit meat.
To make it even healthier, you can use other kinds of grains and even more vegetables, instead of rice. If the stuffing is too loose, add a beaten egg, so that it’ll serve as a binding agent.
So here’s Kitchen Wizard’s stuffed cabbage recipe!
- Sautéed Mirepoix, Meat and Tomato Mixture – about 1 cup
- Cooked rice – about 1 cup
- Grated cheese – about 1/4 cup (optional)
- Salt and Pepper
- A head of cabbage
- 1/3 –1/4 Can of tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Remove the core of the cabbage, and stuff the hole with a moist paper-towel. Wrap it with plastic wrap, and microwave it until cooked through, turning once in the middle. (about 5 min for small head cabbage, about 1 lb. About 8-9 min for a 2 pounder.) This will allow the leaves to come out easily.
- Mix cooked rice and sautéed mirepoix, meat and tomato mixture about 50/50. Add cheese if preferred. Mix and season well. Sprinkle some salt on the cabbage. Wrap a few tablespoons of the rice mixture with the cabbage leaves tightly. Secure the end with tooth pick or broken spaghetti.
- Arrange the cabbage rolls into a pan as tightly as possible, trying not to leave any space. If there’s any space, stuff with leftover cabbage.
- Add broth to barely cover the cabbage rolls. Top with chopped tomatoes, and place a lid or plate that is one size smaller than the opening, so that the rolls will not float up. Cook for about 20-30 min. (If you are short with time, cook in microwave, in several minute increments. Be careful not boil over the broth.)
- Serve immediately with cream on top.
Note: Do you have any cooked cabbage leftover? Great! Because it’s really handy! You can shred it and add to miso soup, other kind of soup, mix with vinaigrette to make simple salad as a side dish, sauté lightly with salt and pepper, with tomatoes, curry powder, bacon, etc. etc.
They were so yummy, they made the last bit of my sickness go away…
Never forget, nourish your soul with good, whole food, not just body… It’ll thank you and give back 100 times! And the best way to do that is through home-cooking. Treat yourself with your childhood favorite from time to time!