Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage Rolls are a spicy, Asian-inspired twist on traditional cabbage rolls! Use turkey, chicken, beef or even tofu if you prefer!
Hope you all had a significantly better week than we had around here!
We are experiencing the proverbial “when it rains, it pours.” Because we live in the country, we depend on a well for water. Everything is lovely and wonderful when the well works and we have the BEST tasting water in the world. Fresh out of the ground and full of minerals is how God meant water to be!
Not having any water bills is also wonderful, but when the well pump goes out, it means no water. We were able to get a well company here rather quickly but not cheaply.
Then, the other night, my husband hit a deer while driving home. Living in the country also means those varmints can jump right out in front of you. The result can often be catastrophic and thankfully he’s okay but his truck isn’t.
Then, Jade, my cat, required a trip to the vet and you know veterinarians aren’t cheap! That pretty much took up most of my Wednesday which is my day off during the week!
We were feeling sorry for ourselves with all these expenses right before Christmas and a friend said, “If a problem can be solved with money, it’s not a big problem to have.”
Wham. Right-o friend-o!
In the midst of all this chaos, we needed some comfort food and these Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage rolls were born.
One of my all-time most favorite comfort foods in the world are traditional, old-fashioned cabbage rolls. They’re a traditional Polish/East European dish called Golumpki or Galumpkis. No matter what you call them, they’re delicious!
I wanted to do a modern twist on the traditional and created Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage rolls. I spiced them up with a healthy dose of Sriracha hot sauce. Ground pork is more budget-friendly than beef. However, feel free to use turkey, chicken, beef or even tofu if you desire.
Preparing the cabbage leaves for filling can be a bit tricky. There are two ways to do it and both have their downside:
- Carefully remove 12 of the outermost leaves from a large head of cabbage then cook them in salted, boiling water until they’re pliable. DOWNSIDE: They can be difficult to peel off. You have to be extremely careful not to tear the leaves when removing them.
- Dunk the entire head of cabbage into a pot of salted boiling water and carefully peel leaves off the head of cabbage until you have enough. DOWNSIDE: You end up with a small, semi-cooked leftover inner part of the head of cabbage.
If I have an immediate use for the remainder of a head of cabbage such as soup or a quick stir-fry, I prefer the second method. I say immediately because if you leave the semi-cooked cabbage sealed up more than a day or two in a plastic bag or plastic container, you’ll have something that smells like a batch of sauerkraut when you open it. Just saying.
Give the broccoli slaw a quick blanch in the boiling water, mix everything together and start rolling! You’ll need to make a V-shaped cut out of the bottom of each leaf. This makes the cabbage leaf easier to roll up and provides two “flaps” to place over the meat.
Simply place a good handful of filling in the center, pull the flaps over the meat, fold the sides in and continue rolling.
If you keep a well-stocked pantry of basic Asian ingredients, you will be able to whip the sauce up easily. Check out this list of Asian pantry essentials from The Kitchn. You definitely want to add hoisin sauce to that list!
Now, you’re probably going to read the recipe for the sauce and wonder what you’ll do with a half of a can of leftover tomato paste! Irritating, I know. I freeze small amounts of leftover tomato paste in snack-size zipper-top bags in approximately 1 to 2 tablespoon amounts. Then, when I need a small amount for soups, sauces or other recipes that require a small amount of tomato paste, it’s always ready to go. The frozen paste pops right out of the bag and thaws quickly.
And there you have Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage Rolls. Ahhh, fiery Asian-inspired goodness!
Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage Rolls helped get me through my week! Any leftover rolls reheat beautifully and will also freeze and reheat beautifully. Hope you enjoy!
If you’re looking for another great cabbage recipe, try my Parmesan Roasted Cabbage Wedges!
Click to purchase these helpful tools and equipment to make Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage Rolls (Affiliate Links):
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 can (3 ounces) tomato paste
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce (or to taste)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- CABBAGE AND FILLING
- Oil or non-stick cooking spray
- 1 large head green cabbage
- 1 container (12-ounce) broccoli slaw
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 bunch of scallions, white and light green part only, chopped, divided
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- SAUCE: Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan until the cornstarch dissolves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened.
- Transfer 1/4 cup of the sauce to a bowl large enough to accommodate the filling you will be mixing up. Set remaining sauce aside to cool.
- ROLLS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil or spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Remove 12 outer leaves from the head of cabbage, being careful not to tear or break the leaves.
- Place three leaves at a time in the boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes or until pliable. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to drain and cool. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
- Alternately, boil the entire head of cabbage and remove the leaves with a knife as they become pliable.
- Keep the water boiling and add the broccoli slaw. Drain immediately in a colander and cool under cold tap water. (You just want it softened slightly so it's easier to roll into the cabbage leaves.)
- Combine the broccoli slaw, pork, brown rice, all but 2 tablespoons of the scallions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and egg in the bowl with the reserved sauce and mix well.
- Cut the thick vein out of each leaf of cabbage in an upside-down V-shape. Place 1/12th of the filling in the center of each cabbage leaf.
- Pull the bottom "flaps" up and over the filling, overlapping them slightly. Fold in the sides and roll up.
- Place in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of each roll registers 165 degrees. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
- Spoon any sauce that settled in the bottom of the baking dish back over the rolls. Garnish with reserved 2 tablespoons scallions and sesame seeds.
Amount Per Serving Calories 413 Total Fat 21g Saturated Fat 7g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 13g Cholesterol 103mg Sodium 1668mg Carbohydrates 30g Fiber 4g Sugar 12g Protein 25g