Cabbage rolls

I’m sure that anyone who is serious about cooking will have made this recipe at some time. I have been wanting to make these Polish Golabki rolls for quite some time. Cabbage rolls are delicious. Instead of the meat, I used mushrooms and soy (TVP), with some spices to make the filling. This filling goes very well with naan, flatbreads etc.

The core of the cabbage has to be carefully removed, so that the leaves easily come apart after it has been steamed. A large sized cabbage weighing around 3 pounds is best which makes it easier to work with, though you can use a smaller one as well. Another trick is to trim the veins of the cabbage leaf if they are too thick. Just use a sharp knife to trim it slightly. That makes it easier to fold over the filling.

It really doesn’t take too long to make this recipe and the cabbage leaves are quite easy to roll. It’s best to leave the rolls overnight in the fridge and then fry them the next day just before serving. You have to be careful not to add too much liquid before baking as that makes the rolls soggy.

This recipe makes around 16-20 rolls.

PREP: 40 minutes COOK TIME: 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 large cabbage, core removed

2 cups soy chunks (TVP)

1 cup fresh button mushrooms, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

2 tsp coriander

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 cup long grain rice

2 tbsp olive oil

3-4 tbsp tomato puree

Salt to taste

Instructions

Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking pan.

Bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil and immerse the cabbage, core side down in it and simmer for 10 minutes. Using two large flat ladles, take the cabbage out of the water and place it on a baking tray core side on top. Using two forks, separate the leaves near the top so that it cools off. Keep the water in which the cabbage was cooked. If the core is not soft enough, you might need to cook it for a few more minutes.

Soak the TVP in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Drain and squeeze well. Process briefly to a flaky consistency.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes until they just start to brown. Add the ginger and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are slightly softened. Add all the spices with about 2-3 tablespoons of water and mix well. Add salt and the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are mushy. Add the soy meal and keep it covered until it is cooked thoroughly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Add the rice and mix well.

At this point, preheat the oven to 180C.

Separate the cabbage leaves reserving the outermost ones to use as a topping. As you get toward the centre, you may want to use a sharp knife to cut the core to separate the leaves. If you find the leaves at the centre too firm to roll, just pop them into the boiling water for another 5 minutes and let it simmer gently. Meanwhile, lay the cabbage leaf on a marble slab and place about 3 tablespoons of the filling toward the edge of the leaf, roll once and fold in the sides and roll once more (like a burrito). Make all the rolls this way and place them seam side down in the baking pan in a row.

Take about half a cup of the cabbage water and mix the tomato puree in it. Pour this over the rolls and cover with the broken cabbage leaves. Cover with foil and bake for about 11/2 hours. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Remove the cabbage leaves and brown them in a little olive oil just before serving. Serve with sour cream.