Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Long Nappa Cabbage Rolls

DSC_7774The characteristics of Long Nappa Chinese cabbage are identical to ordinary Chinese cabbage but it has a leaner and more elegant looking body. I was definitely seduced by its handsomeness. One draw back is the cost. I hesitated for a few seconds and then put it in the basket. Hmmm what can I make with this?DSC_7724 I had this cabbage roll recipe by Hiromi Sekioka who is a food researcher and food stylist in Japan. She has written several cookbooks also and I wanted to try it for a while. The recipe calls for a trio of meat - beef, pork and chicken to bring out a complex flavor. Her recipe used regular cabbage obviously and that’s neo-traditional but since I have this ‘special’ kind of cabbage, why not? I broke the mold and changed it here and there to create my own version but the essence still remains. This clearly belongs to Slow Food category.DSC_7738


Ingredients and instruction for 4 cabbage rolls

  • Napa Chinese cabbage or regular cabbage 4-6 leaves. Have an extra in case of tearing.
  • 1/2 of onion, minced. For great texture, onion must be finely minced.
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • Japanese style bread crumb (panko) 1/3 cup
  • Milk 1/4 cup
  • Ground beef 160g
  • Ground pork 160g
  • Ground chicken breast 70g. I ground it myself with a food processer.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (about) of pepper (white preferred)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (about) of nutmeg 
  1. Dry  the cabbage by leaving it on a colander or shallow basket for 2-3 hours until leaves are wilted. The drying eliminates the need for cooking cabbage separately. I shaved a bit of the white part of the leaf so that it was thinner to make rolling it up easier.
  2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and sauté onion until onion turns transparent. Let it cool. Set aside. I skip this process and simply mixed with meat without sautéing. Sautéing onion perhaps bring out more umami flavor.
  3. Soak bread crumbs in milk. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix all three meats, sprinkle with salt and knead until color of meat gets whitish and texture is stretchy; about 2-3 minutes by hand.
  5. Add onion, soaked bread crumb, egg, pepper and nutmeg and mix well.
  6. Put plastic wrap directly over the meat mixture and let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. 

Make Vegetable Bullion

  • 1 carrots chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 celery with leaf chopped
  • 1-2 green onion cut in 2 inches length
  • 2 Garlic skinned and crushed with meat tenderizer or rolling pin.DSC_7730
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/3 cup of white wine
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1-2 bay leaves (optional)

Put everything in a pan and boil. Reduce to heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes or longer. Strain and reserve liquid. Discard vegetable.DSC_7735DSC_7742

Rolling up and Cooking

Making drop lid – Place large sheet of parchment paper on top of pan that you’re using. Make a crease along side edge of pan. Cut creased line with scissors then make a cross slit in the middle of the circle.

  • 1-14.5 oz. can of tomato, I used diced tomatoes. If it’s whole tomato, crushed with your hand over the pan before adding.
  • 4 slices of bacon – cut in small strips
  • Bay leaves 1 or 2
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley leaves chopped small (optional).
  1. Spread about some of meat mixture on top of wilted cabbage leaf leaving 1/2 inch space at either end. Roll up from stem side as tightly as possible. Secure the end with toothpicks if you like. Push the meat in from both sides to prevent the meat mixture from coming out during the cooking process. Suggestion; If there is any left over meat, make hamburger patties or meat balls, put it in air tight bag and keep refrigerated or freeze it for later use.DSC_7745DSC_7746DSC_7747
  2. Lay the rolled cabbage seam side down in the pan. Do the rest of cabbage. Fill the empty space with extra cabbage leaf to prevent the rolls from moving.
  3. Pour vegetable bullion to barely cover the cabbage rolls (use left over for soup later). Pour a can of chunk tomato in, add bacon, salt, pepper, and 2 bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with your prepared drop lid and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes.
  4. Put a cabbage roll in a soup bowl then spoon over some liquid and bacon. Sprinkle on parsley for color. Serve immediately, like now!DSC_7764


Friday Night make your own Takoyaki (direct translation; Octopus bake) This is the ultimatum fun-with-food kind of thing.DSC_7701DSC_7706

I made myself busy by making four apple cakes in the morning then took three of them to three ladies in the afternoon and visited with them. The last precious cake I enjoyed with my family. I am failing off my diet…way off.DSC_7719

You desire Fast Food occasionally. This Beef Curry Udon took 15 minutes to make and I used only two pans. The flavor will develop more if you let it simmer longer but I have a hungry child to feed.DSC_7691

My husband loves kumquats as a snack. I found these darling mandrinquats at Whole Foods for $6.99 per pound…stick with original.DSC_7695

My very first crochet project – Dish Cloth. Teachers (friends) were very patient with me. The cost; $3. Time it took to make; two hours lesson and one and half TV shows. Very therapeutic.DSC_7779







  1. I did nappa cabbage roll a couple of days ago, my own version...not as good as yours, but I have no excuse now because you clearly showed how to in this blog! Thank you so much for that:) I appreciate it a lot! Well done on your beautiful dish cloth...I can see more of those coming soon :) yeah!

    1. Thank you so much. I don't know about making more dish cloth but it was fun! I think I should move on to make doily?

  2. 美味しそうな白菜がもっと美味しそうな料理に変身して、本当に冬ならではのメニューですね。ベジタブルのストック、作ったことないので、是非参考にして作ってみます!たこ焼き器、持ってるやつがこげていつもそこだけこげるので新しいのを買わないと。楽しいですよね、いっぱい食べるから危ないけど。明美さんのは電気のやつ、それともストーブトップで作るやつですか?

    1. なみちゃん、ロールキャベツはあまり作らない方ですが、これは結構美味しくできました。たこ焼き機は卓上で使える電気です。コメントいつもサンキュー!

  3. Our market here is flood with a lot of Napa cabbage which imported from China due to Lunar New Year..Your cabbage rolls indeed very delicious!

    1. Thank you so much Sonia. Happy Chinese New Year! Your Onigiri illustration is so cute! Love that!

  4. Everything looks so good! Your crochet project too!

  5. I watched one TV program showing how to make these rolls a couple days ago. I thought I should make these some day. And today you showed how to make them. What a coincidence! I 'll bookmark the recipe. Look so delicious.

    1. Thank you Tataya. It was not a bad recipe. I will keep in my file.