Sometimes, on Sunday night after a busy weekend the most enticing idea is ordering delicious take-out and posting up to watch HBO or Netflix marathons.
This weekend was shaping up in that direction when I had one last burst of energy, and decided to make the Asian Style Stuffed Cabbage I was going to have delivered in my own kitchen. In order to get the motivation to do so, I told myself about all the additives and bad stuff that probably went into the takeout version, and also realized I'd have leftovers to get me through a meal on Monday as well. Off to the store I went, and an hour later I was back on the couch, clicker in hand selecting binge-watch-worthy programming.
One of my go-to takeout orders is usually some sort of dumpling from an Asian restaurant. In order to recreate the flavor profile at home, it's key to incorporate a couple of staple ingredients: soy sauce, garlic, ginger, scallions, and sweet vinegar such as rice wine or sherry vinegars. Once these aromatic essentials are blended together, a marinade, dressing or dipping sauce is at your finger tips.
For this recipe, I wanted to boost the health benefit by using lean ground turkey, but spicy ground pork (a favorite), or ground beef or chicken can easily substituted.
Asian Take-Out Style Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
- 15 leaves Napa cabbage, cleaned and separated from head
- 1.5 lbs. ground meat
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
- 1/4 tsp. dry powdered ginger spice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green onion stalks, greens abd whites sliced
- 3 Tbs. water
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Next, remove any stiff or large center ribs from the cabbage leaves. Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Add about 3 or 4 cabbage leaves to the water at a time, and blanch until bright green and softened. Remove and pat dry with a paper towel. Repeat with about 12-15 leaves, as desired for stuffing.
2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 2 Tbs. soy sauce, 1 Tbs. rice vinegar, sugar, fresh and dried ginger, garlic and green onion.
3. Add ground meat to a large bowl, and pour the soy marinade on top. Mix thoroughly with your hands until everything is incorporated.
4. Lay a cabbage leaf flat on a cutting board, and scoop a spoonful of meat mixture into the center of the leaf. Roll up the cabbage leaf so that it encloses the meat, and place into a baking dish seam-side down. Repeat until stuffing is gone.
5. Mix together remaining 3 Tbs. water, 1 tsp. soy and 1 tsp. rice vinegar, and pour atop the stuffed cabbage leaves. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Jessica Roy is a specialty chef and caterer, food writer and chef instructor, and owner of Shiso Kitchen in Somerville, where she teaches classes. Follow her at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/yourpersonalchef.