For the past couple of months, I have been trying to cook (and bake) during weekends. Like I previously mentioned, I am no good cook (in reference to my family and even to Z’s nanny) but I know the basics. Well, cooking is simple, really, right? Compared to baking, you can freestyle a lot of stuff in cooking.
I don’t really look for recipes to cook when I do. I saute meat and vegetables, mostly. I work with what I have in my fridge and try to pair ingredients that works well together based on my knowledge.
I’ve been buying cabbage recently and it is mostly added to soup dishes that Z’s nanny cooks. Then I remembered something that my parents used to cook when we were kids so I called my Mom and asked her how the cabbage rolls were done. I initially thought it was lettuce rolls. On the other hand, lettuce can be used for this, too.
Since I posted this photo in my Facebook wall, a few have already asked me for the recipe, so I thought of posting it here for anyone who’s interested to try. Measurement of ingredients included here are estimates so you can make your own adjustments.
There are actually a lot of ways to do this but this is my version. It’s an easy dish to cook, really. 🙂
Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce
- 250g ground pork
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- 2 medium sized onions
- 1 medium carrot, grated (optional)
- 1 large red bell pepper (optional)
- Cabbage leaves (about 4-6 leaves, depending on the size)
- Tomato sauce (you can use the canned or packed. If you can use fresh, all the better)
- Season ground pork with salt and pepper. Add finely chopped garlic and onion.
- Cut the bell pepper in half, set aside one half. Finely chop the other half and mix it to the meat mixture. Add the grated carrots. Mix well then set aside.
- Blanch cabbage leaves to make it easier to wrap.
- Scoop a spoonful of the meat mixture and wrap it in cabbage leaf. Secure with tooth pick. Set aside.
- Chop the remaining half of the bell pepper and saute it together with garlic and onions.
- Add tomato sauce, season with salt, pepper and dry or fresh herbs, simmer for about a minute or two. (For the one I made, I added a handful of grated carrots, excess of the one I used for the meat mixture. This is optional as well).
- Add cabbage rolls then simmer for another 10-15 minutes in low fire or until the meat is cooked.
There you go. A few notes to add:
- Adding carrots and bell pepper to the meat mixture is optional. I have added this in the one I cooked because I didn’t use a lot of ground meat so the carrots became an extender. Another reason is that I wanted additional vegetable in the dish and it is what I have that I know will work well with tomato sauce.
- If you are not fond of tomato sauce, you can actually not cook this in it. You can steam the cabbage rolls instead. However, it is advisable to pre-cook the meat mixture. Just saute it with garlic, onions and season it well before wrapping it in cabbage leaves. Then steam it for about several minutes. (I haven’t tried this yet so I’m not sure how long you are supposed to steam it).
- If you want to use lettuce, you can do so.
- If you have time to make fresh tomato sauce, that will be great. Unfortunately, I didn’t have tomatoes available so I used the packed one.