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Chinese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

6 July 2023

We’re harvesting a lot of cabbage at the moment at the @plukcsafruittuin so I needed to find some new ways to use all these amazing leaves. Stuffed cabbage rolls are super versatile, I filled them with pork with a Chinese recipe, but you could also make Middle Eastern versions with lamb or chicken and they are great stuffed with vegetables and tofu as well.

Just be sure to blanc the leaves first so they’re nice and flexible, after that they just need to steam for 10 minutes. You’re left with amazing little steamed parcels of goodness and the steaming liquid left in the bowl afterwards is great to use to make a sauce.

Recipe inspired by @whattocooktoday.

Chinese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Dinner, lunch Asian, Chinese
By Saffron Serves: 4 (3 rolls each)
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes


  • The filling:
  • 400 g ground pork with mixture of fat (see notes for other options)
  • Thumb size piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 small carrot, grate
  • 2-3 spring onions or a small handful chives, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp chicken broth or more as needed
  • The wrapping:
  • 12 large cabbage leaves, roughly the same size (chinese cabbage, napa cabbage or pointed cabbage)
  • The sauce:
  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp Light Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame oil
  • To thicken the sauce:
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • To serve
  • Chili flakes
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chives


The prep (10 minutes)


Start by combining all the filling ingredients and mixing well so you get a nice paste. If the mixture is too dry / crumbly add some more chicken stock. 1 tablespoon at a time. The consistency should feel spreadable. Set aside and let marinade while you prepare the rest. You can also let it marinade overnight in the fridge.


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and have a large bowl with ice water handy on the side. Add the cabbage leaves, 4 at a time and blanch for 30-40 seconds until softened. Transfer the leaves to the ice water to stop the cooking process and repeat with the rest of the leaves.

Now it's time to roll! (10 minutes)


Divide the filling into 12 portions.


Spread out a cabbage leaf on a plate or chopping board, stem side to the bottom (so towards you). Remove the tougher stem at the bottom if you notice this is not very pliable.


Place one portion of the filling on the lower third of the leaf, making a little horizontal sausage shape.


Fold the leaf over and continue rolling up until you form a log, half way tucking in the leaves at the sided and then finish rolling into a log.


Continue with the rest of the filling and leaves

Steaming (15 minutes)


Bring the water in the steamer to a simmer and place a deepish heatproof plate onto the steamer, this will catch the juices that come out of the rolls which we will use in the sauce.


Steam over medium heat for 15 minutes.

The sauce (5 minutes while rolls are steaming)


Add all the sauce ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.


Add the cornstarch mixture and let simmer for 1-2 minutes until thickened.


Once the cabbage rolls are done you can use 1-2 tablespoons of the the liquid in the bowl to the sauce until you get your desired consistency.


Pour the thickened sauce over the cabbage rolls and serve immediately.


  • Other great stuffing options with the same marinade ingredients are prawns (chopped and roughy minced), chicken, beef, tofu, mushrooms or any other vegetables to name just a few .

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