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! Serve with my Miso-Glazed Eggplant for a truly memorable meal!
"My family and I loved these! Although labor-intensive, it was worth making. The sauce and filling are delicious!"
One of my all-time most favorite comfort foods in the world is 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.
How to prepare cabbage leaves for stuffing:
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.
How to make Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage Rolls:
- First, 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.
- Give the broccoli slaw a quick blanch in the boiling water you used for the cabbage.
- Mix the filling ingredients together and start rolling!
- 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. 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 then 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!
Any leftover rolls reheat beautifully and will also freeze and reheat beautifully. Hope you enjoy!
For more great cabbage recipes, try my:
- Spicy Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Farmhouse Cabbage Soup with Cannellini Beans and Kielbasa
- Roasted Cabbage Steaks with Mustard Vinaigrette
- Parmesan Roasted Cabbage Wedges
- Russian Cabbage Soup (Shchi)
Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage Rolls
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ can (3-ounce) tomato paste
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce - preferably Lee Kum Kee brand
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce - or to taste
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
Cabbage and Filling
- Oil or non-stick cooking spray
- 1 large head of green cabbage
- 1 container (12-ounce) broccoli slaw
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 bunch scallions - white and light green part only, chopped, divided
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 large egg - beaten
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 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 ¼ cup of the sauce to a bowl large enough to accommodate the filling you will be mixing up. Set remaining sauce aside to cool.
Cabbage and Filling
- 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.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
Gisele St Cyr says
To make it easier freeze your cabbage leaves,when you do that it saves you 1/2 the times. Gisele
Hi, Gisele, Thanks so much for the tip! Can you be more specific? While still as a head or removed? Thanks again!
My family and I loved these! Although labor intensive it was worth making . The sauce and filling are delicious. Next time I think I’d add more rice in the mixture and definitely start making them earlier in the day. Great for freezing to have later.
Hi, Susan, Thanks so very much! Cabbage rolls in general are just labor-intensive; there's no getting around it. Thanks again and glad everyone enjoyed!!
This is not something I'd make again on a week night - I found it to be labor intensive and messy. The flavors didn't overwhelm me, but my partner loved it. I also thought it would be spicier.
Hi, Carol, Thanks so much for your feedback. No, it's probably not right for a weeknight and you can always add more spice. As a personal chef, I know everyone has different tastes/tolerances so maybe tweak the flavors. Glad your partner enjoyed!
Hi and thank you for the recipe. I will substitute pork for tofu but what kind of tofu shall I use and if I wanted to make this vegan what do I substitute for the egg?
Hi, Ami, Thanks so much for your question. I would use firm or extra-firm tofu. For the egg, I would suggest some bread crumbs such as panko and a tablespoon of flaxseed mixed with a little water. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!!
Terria Kehr says
Can white rice be used?
Hi, Terria, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, you could use white rice. I usually use "converted" rice if using white rice in cabbage rolls which is parboiled so it has a head start on cooking. If you're using plain white rice that's not converted, you may want to give it a quick boil for several minutes to soften it up. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!
My family usually hates cabbage, but I was at the market and saw a dutch cabbage and thought it looked cool. So I looked up Asian cabbage rolls and came across your recipe. My family and I LOVED them! It is a staple in my home now. I also am trying Turkish style cabbage rolls next. Thank you for the inspiration in the kitchen.
Hi, Nona, Thanks so very much and so glad you enjoyed! When I see someone who doesn't care for something but then enjoys it because it's a recipe I've shared, it means everything to me!!! Thank you again so very much!!!!
Hi there - do you brown the pork first or roll it up uncooked??
OMG! These rolls look delicious, they must be to die for 😂😂😂I love Asian food. I just subscribed. Greetings from Spain 😘😘😘
Hi, Wendy!! Thanks so much and great to hear from you! Hope you enjoy the cabbage rolls and more from my site. Thanks again!
Hi! Made recipe last night and got raves. I used a beef/pork mix my super carries, but otherwise followed recipe. Taste was fantastic. As a side note, I had extra meatmix, so I added an extra egg and some bread pieces to make asian style grilled burgers—they were fab too!
Hi there great recipe however what is broccoli slaw?
Hi, Darren, Thanks so much for your question and glad you enjoyed! Broccoli slaw is found in the prepped vegetable area. It's shredded broccoli stems with some cabbage and carrots added. Thanks again and I'll make a note to the recipe.
Do these freeze well? Would you prepare them and freeze them before baking?
Hi, Casey, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, they freeze great. You definitely want to bake it and then freeze it either in small portions or whole. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!
My neighbour puts her head of cabbage into the freezer. When she makes cabbage rolls, she takes it out, thaws it in the fridge and the leaves peel off no problem. Give it a try!
Hi, Lulu, Thanks so much! Very interesting idea and I will definitely give it a try!
Linda Vining says
Just finished making and eating these! OMG they were amazing. Happened to have all of the ingredients in our pantry except the cabbage which was nice. These rolls were very tasty. Initially I thought the sauce was too thick, but it wasn't at all when we took them out of the oven. I can't think of anything I would change. The tip to core the cabbage and put it whole in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes was spot on. We made 12 large cabbage rolls with this recipe.
christine von seggern says
This recipe looks amazing! I'm going to try this using raw rice noodles along with rice. I think that it will work well with this Asian-inspired dish.
Thanks, Christine! Hope you enjoy and please let me know how it worked!
Debbie Deluna says
Can you use ground beef instead of the pork and get the same flavor?
Hi, Debbie, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, I think it will be close. Ground turkey might be a little closer in flavor to pork but I think beef will be fine. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!