Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Japan Returned -- Continue from Stop 3

sorry, got derailed although i kept up with the cooking. really.

okay, so the cabbage rolls. here's what happened with those:

the actual recipe goes something like this:

1 head green cabbage, outer layer of leaves discarded
5 green onions, including tender green tops, thinly sliced
2 slices white bread, torn into small pieces
1/4 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into small pieces
1/4 pound ground pork
1-1/2 tsps ginger juice -- you grate fresh ginger into a bowl and squeeze it, getting juice. pretty cool.
1/2 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 tbs sake
5 cups reduced-fat, low sodium canned chix broth
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
5 tbs mayo

what to do:
1. Put the cabbage into boiling water, submerging it and when it returns to a boil, take out the cabbage and place it into a colander to drain. Reserve 5 tbs of the boiling water for the sauce, although you might not use all of it.
2. When the cabbage is cool enough to handle, peel off 8 really nice leaves that have smaller spines without tearing them. put them on some paper towels to absorb any excess water -- cabbage LOVES to hold water, all leafy greens do. If you can get more than 8 leaves, that's great, just in case you have extra filling.
3. Combine the green onions, bread, shrimp, pork, ginger juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper and sake in a bowl. Mix with your hands until evenly distributed.
4. Heat the chix broth in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. While it heats, stuff your cabbage rolls: lay the leaf so the stem is facing you. put 2-3 tbs of the filling in the middle of the leaf and fold the edge closest to you over the villing to cover it, fold in the sides then roll up the leaf. secure it with a toothpick GENTLY so you don't tear the leafe and place it to the side. repeat to make 7 more rolls.
5. your broth is probably on a slow boil by now. so carefully add the cabbage rolls to the pan, where they usually fit in one single layer. Cover the pan and cook until the cabbage leaves are very tender, NOT disintegrating -- about 30-35 minutes. you can pus them a bit with a fork or chopstick to test it and when the leaf is very easy to pierce, they are ready. taste the broth and season with salt to your liking, if needed.
6. stir the ketchup, 3 tbs of the reserved cabbage cooking liquid and the mayo together in a small bowl until well combined. if you've got extra rolls, then you'll probably want that extra 2 tbs of cabbage liquid to stir up more sauce.

SERVING: Place 2 rolls in a bow and ladle some broth over until it reaches halfway up the sides of the rolls and drizzle a little sauce on top of the rolls. this serves 4 as a main course or 8 as an appetizer. serve immediately.

we didn't have pork thawed, but lamb and we tried that . we also didn't have white bread, but wheat and did that. it was yummy. there was an earthier taste to it with the shift in those two ingredients and it played well with the cabbage and broth. even my sons who don't like cabbage loved it and i took the left over cabbage, shredded it, chopped up a honey crisp apple and tossed the whole thing with some salt (1/2 tsp), 1/4 cup rice vinegar, a tbs sugar (super fine) and 1/2 tsp soy sauce and the left over ketchup mayo. the mixture was a combination from another recipe in the book -- cucumber and shrimp vinegared salad (sunomono) with a new twist. it went really well with the broth and cabbage roll.

one of the deals with asian cooking is the chopping. i happen not to mind it, because i lose myself for awhile in the prep. however, it can be tedious for some. i think, though, that you'll find this dish really worth any trouble. it is nothing like the cabbage rolls i remember, that's for sure, and i could eat these all day.

pick up amy kaneko's book if you are at all interested in accessible japanese food. excellent stuff.

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