Pork and Black Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with a Bright and Spicy Tomato Sauce

In my neck of the woods, at least, it seems that everyone turns to cabbage rolls just about three days after thanksgiving. It gives folks two good days of saying “oy, freakin’ vey! Imma need to get back on my diet” then a full day to prep cabbage rolls. Not a judgement, just an observation…except for the fact that I don’t like cabbage rolls.

So it goes.

I looked for recipes I might like. I was disappointed. Except for this great tomato sauce recipe that I bastardized. Things turned toward the Asian and out came what follows. It’s pretty fucking great and I can say that with confidence because I had at least two people who weren’t me or the mister say as much.

Probs gonna pop the sauce recipe out on its own because I would eat that with SO many things!

I am definitely going to try a vegan version in the near future.

This recipe makes 16-18 rolls.

What you need for the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cm chunk of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 800 g – 1 kg fresh, ripe tomatoes (the discount, no-longer-pretty tomatoes at your grocery store are perfect for this application)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup of Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • ice and cold water for cooling

What you do for the sauce:

  1. Put on a large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. With a sharp knife, cut crosses into the bottoms of your tomatoes.
  3. Boil the tomatoes for three minutes, then transfer to a bowl with ice and cold water.
  4. Once the tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, pull the skins from the tomatoes and discard or toss in your stock bag.  Roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large pot (I just discard the water and reuse the tomato-blanching pot) over medium heat. Toss in the salt, garlic, ginger, shallot and chili flakes and cook, stirring frequently until translucent and very smelly.
  6. Stir the tomatoes, honey and wine into the pot and cook, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes dissolve.
  7. Stir in the oyster sauce and cook until desired consistency is reached.

What you need for the rolls :

  • 350-400 g ground pork
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cm chunk of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 9 dried black mushrooms (tweak amount according to how much meat you’re using, adding more mushrooms if using less meat), reconstituted
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small head of purple cabbage (or green, if you want to be boring)

What you do for the rolls:

  1. A good hour or so before you want to assemble your rolls, mix the meat with the green onions, ginger, sesame oil, wine and soy sauce in a seal-able bowl and set aside in the fridge to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Prep your cabbage by coring it and letting it simmer in hot, salted water until the leaves soften and pull away from the head. Remove the leaves as they loosen and transfer to a colander to cool and drain. Tongs are super helpful in this process. Feel free to stop once you have 20 good-sized, whole leaves to work with. The remaining cabbage can be frozen or refrigerated and used in soups, spring rolls or haluski.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, cook the seasoned meat mixture until just browning. Sprinkle the corn starch over the meat, then fold in the mushrooms and eggs. Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggs are opaque. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Prep your steamer with parchment paper, oil or whatever its instructions tell you to.
  5. Once the meat filling has cooled, start stuffing the cabbage leaves. Begin with the stem end of the leaf pointing toward you and de-stem  if those stems are too stiff. Place two healthy tablespoons of filling on the leaf, fold the sides in over it, then roll the leaves away from you, ensuring that the seam is on the bottom. Transfer each roll to your steamer as you go.
  6. Once all of the cabbage rolls are ready, steam them for 30 minutes in a stove top steamer, or in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes at high pressure and natural release for 10 minutes. Serve hot over rice, topped with the tomato sauce and a sprinkling of chopped chives or green onions.




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