Our October 2010 hostess Lori of Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged the Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Cuisine.
As much as I would have loved to try making dolmades or stuffed grape leaves, I couldn't find the time to comb through Manila looking for the elusive packed grape leaves that I may or may not find. But seeing the other Daring Cooks in my situation found stuffing cabbage leaves as much fun--I proceeded to do the same.
Lori gave as a lot of freedom with this challenge by allowing us to make our own filling. So to go with the cabbage leaves, I chose to make my mine Asian.
Ground Beef 250 grams
Dried Shrimps (hibe), pound finely 30 grams
Uncooked Rice 50 grams
Garlic, minced 2 cloves
Red Onions, minced 1/2 piece
Carrots, minced 1 piece
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Mix until blended. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Cabbage Leaves 1 small head
Carefully peel off the layers making sure they are not torn. Discard first two layers. Boil water and blanch the leaves for 1 minute until just pliable. Lay out on a tray, and finish all the leaves.
Lay one blanched cabbage leaf, roll out a small log of the filling. Carefully roll the cabbage, folding the sides as you go. Lay the rolled leaves packed tightly together in a plastic container and freeze overnight.
Thaw for 10 minutes. Lay them in a pot close together with the seam side down and fill the spaces with carrots. Aside from adding flavor, the carrots will keep the cabbage rolls from unraveling. Fill with chicken stock just enough to cover the rolls. Add in dried chilis. Weigh down with a plate and cook for 40 minutes.
After cooking for 40minutes. I carefully took out the cabbage rolls and set them aside on a plate. I simmered the stock and adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper. When I was satisfied with the taste, I took out the chilis. I poured the sauce into a blender and pureed the carrots. Then I added the pureed sauce to the cabbage rolls--the sauce took on the orange color of the carrots and made the cabbage rolls more tasty.
I would have to say that cabbage rolls are a revelation to me. I've never made this before and was pleasantly surprised that it was delicious. I brought them to work and ate them for lunch and had more than enough for the next day!
Thank you for this challenge Lori! I really had fun with it and I discovered a new way of cooking cabbages. I may have to hunt down the elusive grape leaves and try making dolmades :)