I asked my mom over the holiday season to make a healthy soup and we came up with this stuffed cabbage roll and meatball soup or canh bap cai nhoi thit. This is a simple and healthy soup to detox from the rich holiday meals. It is also an elegant soup to serve at any dinner party.
Difficulty: Medium / Servings: 6 / Time: 30 – 45 minutes
6-7 leaves from 1 extra-large cabbage or the largest cabbage you find. (You can adjust the meat filling to fit the smaller leaves.)
1/2 lb. of ground pork (You can substitute this with chicken.)
4 jumbo shrimps (deveined and without the shell)
1/2 lb. of pork paste (You can also puree the ground meat into a paste in a food processor.)
1/2 cup of rehydrated wood ear mushrooms
6-8 green onions
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon powder
1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
3 rock sugar
1/2 teaspoon of regular sugar
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of diced onion
Cilantro (to garnish)
Carefully remove 6 to 7 outer cabbage leaves. You can also do this under running water so that the water can run between the leaf and the cabbage head to help dislodge them.
Boil 6 cups of water. Once the water comes to a boil, blanch the leaves and green onions so that they become softened. Remove the cabbage and green onions. Turn off the heat and set the blanching water aside until we are ready to cook the cabbage rolls.
Mince the mushrooms in a food processor or by hand and add them to a mixing bowl.
Pulse the shrimps 3 to 4 times in a food processor and add the shrimps to the mixing bowl.
Add ground pork and pork paste to the mixing bowl and season the filling with the following:
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder, 1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of diced onion.
Mix the meat filling by hand until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Roll the cabbage leaves like to an egg roll :
Lay the blanched cabbage leaf flat onto a cutting board and cut the leaf in half to get the best “rectangle”. Discard the tougher stem at the end.
Add 2 tablespoons of the filling to one end of the cabbage. Fold the side over and roll until the cabbage resembles an egg roll. Tie the cabbage roll with one stalk of blanched green onion.
Roll the leftover filling into 1 inch meatballs. You can do this by squeezing the meat filling with your hand to form the meatballs. You will need to cover your hand with some oil to do this easily.
Bring the blanched water back to a boil and add 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth. Season the water with 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder, 3 rock sugar and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of fish sauce. Turn the heat to medium so that the soup is on a low boil to allow the seasoning to incorporate into the broth.
Once the broth is on a low boil, add the cabbage rolls and meatballs to the soup. Let them cook for 15 minutes undisturbed.
Once the meatballs are cooked (approx. 15 minutes), the soup is ready to be served.