Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Stuffed cabbage is a favorite in Japan, where it is often simmered in dashi or tomato sauce.  This version is a mix of Japanese and Armenian cooking styles.  Give it a try and you will be coming back for seconds!

Stuffed Cabbage is a beloved dish that has found its way into the hearts and kitchens of people all around the world. With its diverse culinary heritage, it comes as no surprise that different countries have put their own unique twist on this comforting and flavorful dish. In this recipe, we will embark on a culinary journey that fuses the traditional Japanese and Armenian styles of preparing Stuffed Cabbage, resulting in a truly delightful and innovative creation.

As I was conversing with a dear Armenian friend, our discussion led us to ponder the possibility of blending the two styles of Stuffed Cabbage. Both Japan and Armenia have their own rich culinary traditions, and while Stuffed Cabbage holds a special place in the hearts of both cultures, the preparation techniques and flavor profiles vary.

In Japanese cuisine, Stuffed Cabbage, known as “Rōru Kyabetsu” is a popular dish often enjoyed during the colder months. The cabbage leaves are carefully boiled and then filled with a delectable mixture of ground meat, rice, and aromatic seasonings. The rolls are then simmered in a flavorful broth until tender and infused with savory goodness.

On the other hand, in Armenian cuisine, Stuffed Cabbage, or “Dolma,” takes on a slightly different approach. The filling typically consists of a combination of ground meat, rice, and a medley of herbs and spices, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors. The cabbage leaves are blanched and wrapped around the flavorful filling, creating a comforting and satisfying dish.

In this unique fusion recipe, we will be incorporating the essence of both Japanese and Armenian cooking styles. We begin by coring the cabbage and then boiling it in hot water. As the outer leaves loosen up, they are gently removed, making way for the filling. The filling itself combines the best of both worlds, with a delightful blend of ground beef, short grain white rice, tomato paste, fragrant herbs like Italian parsley and dill, and a carefully selected mix of seasonings that includes allspice, cinnamon, paprika, and more.

Once the cabbage leaves are filled and rolled, they are placed in a pot layered with some of the larger rolls at the bottom and the smaller ones on top. This layering technique not only ensures even cooking but also adds visual appeal to the dish.

As the stuffed cabbage rolls simmer away, the flavors meld together, creating a symphony of taste that pays homage to both Japanese and Armenian culinary traditions. The result is a dish that beautifully marries the tender and comforting qualities of Japanese Stuffed Cabbage with the bold and aromatic flavors of Armenian Dolma.

By combining these two distinct culinary cultures, we are given a unique opportunity to create a dish that celebrates diversity and creativity in the kitchen. This fusion of Japanese and Armenian Stuffed Cabbage is a testament to the power of culinary exploration and the joy of bringing flavors from different corners of the world together on one plate.

So, join us on this culinary adventure as we explore the marriage of Japanese and Armenian flavors in a delicious fusion of Stuffed Cabbage. Let your taste buds be tantalized by the harmonious blend of ingredients and savor the rich cultural heritage that this dish represents.

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

These stuffed cabbage leaves are spicy.  They are not hot, but for people unaccustomed to eating middle eastern food or for children it can take some getting used to.  You can make a more mild flavored version by reducing the cumin and eliminating the fennel, allspice, cinnamon and cilantro altogether.  It is still absolutely delicious, and your kids may thank you for it.

PREP COOKING YIELD
30 mins 1 hour 8 servings (about 16 rolls)
PREP 30 mins
COOKING 1 hour
YIELD 8 servings (about 16 rolls)

Ingredients:

Stuffed Cabbage

  • 1 head of Cabbage
  • 6 cups chicken broth or dashi
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Fresh Lemon

Filling

  • 1.1 lbs Ground Beef  (500g)
  • 3/4 cups short grain White Rice, uncooked
  • 3 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh Italian Parsley
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 tsp Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp fresh Dill, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Cilantro

Instructions:

  • Finely chop the garlic and the Italian parsley.  In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon or by hand until all the ingredients are well combined.
Filling before mixing

 

Filling after mixing

 

  • With a sharp or serrated knife, core the cabbage.

  • Boil the cabbage in water on medium high heat.  As the leaves soften, use a pair of tongs to gently remove the outer leaves.  Continue until you are unable to remove anymore.

  • Return the leaves into the boiling water.  Boil for another 2-3 minutes until softened.  Drain the leaves and rinse under cold water.

  • Put a layer leaves in a large Dutch oven using the 2 or 3 largest outer leaves.  This will prevent the stuffed cabbage from sticking to the pot.

  • Starting with the largest leaf, begin rolling the filling into each leaf.  Use about 2 tsps of filling for smaller leaves up to 2 tablespoons for the larger ones.  Use the fill, fold, roll technique as shown below.
FILL
FOLD
ROLL

 

  • Place the cabbage rolls in the pot on top of the leaves.  Place the larger rolls on the bottom layer, packing loosely, and layer the smaller rolls on top.

  • Pour the oil, water and chicken broth over the rolls.  It should just cover the rolls.  If not, add additional water.  Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat to low, and simmer for one hour.  Plate and serve with fresh lemon.

Notes:

  • This is a fusion of Japanese and Armenian cooking.  The Japanese elements include the short grain rice (instead of long grain), the use of ground beef instead of lamb, the use of dashi or broth, and using uncooked rice.  The spices along with the mix of lemon and olive oil give this an Armenian flavor!

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