Fusion food at its best: Cabbage rolls stuffed with ground beef

My preference is meat filling with an authentic Pakistani taste

I love the aromatic filling served with a tangy tomato sauce, as it brings the eating experience alive with its incredible zing

The filling is essentially ground meat (qeema) prepared with roasted and fried ingredients

These ingredients include cumin seeds, black cardamom, turmeric, chillis, coriander seeds and fresh tomatoes

I fondly recall my mother preparing the meat filling with white rice or an assortment of breads (parathas, rotis, phulkas, and chapatis)

She also accompanied the filling with assorted vegetable dishes such as okras, spinach, peas, and potatoes

The filling is complemented with slices of raw onion, cucumbers, carrots, and lemon wedges

There are many ways to savour this delectable and versatile meat filling

It can be used as a topping for pizzas or pastas, as well as for tacos and sandwiches

My favourite is when the cabbage leaves are wrapped around the meat filling

While cooking, I like to add fresh soybeans which lend a nutty, buttery flavour to the meat

The specialty of my version of the dish is that it can be eaten without the added carbs we would consume from bread or rice

The leaves are nutritious and part of a balanced and healthy low-carb diet

The filling is also very convenient to prepare and refrigerate

I simply prepare it by baking or steaming the cabbage in a covered pot and allowing it to simmer, and then wrapping the cabbage leaves around the meat filling

This fusion cooking experience of roasted cabbage rolls stuffed with this Pakistan-style meat filling provides me the opportunity to appreciate the coming together of different culinary traditions

I get to witness firsthand the dynamic interaction between ingredients which is the key to any great recipe

I present to you my original recipe for you to try out

Preparation time: one hour Serves: Eight people Ingredients: Head of cabbage — remove at least 10 to 12 fresh green leaves from the outer portion Green edamame soybeans — 1 cup Ground meat — 1 pound Fresh tomatoes — 3 (medium-sized, finely chopped) Fresh red onion — 1 (small-sized, finely chopped) Garlic and ginger — 1 tsp (minced) All spices powder — 1 tsp Turmeric powder — 1 tsp Bay leaves — 2 Black cardamom — 2 Caraway seeds — 1 tsp Oil — 1 tbsp for the meat mixture, and ½  tbsp for the fried green soybeans Combination spice powder — 2 tsp total (cumin seeds 1 tsp, raw coriander 1 tsp, red chili flakes 2 tsp

Roast each of them on low flame and blend them in a mixer into a powdered form) Salt as per taste Tomato sauce: Fresh tomatoes — 5 (medium-sized, skinless) Fresh red onion — 2 tbsp (finely chopped) Chilli powder — ½ tsp Garlic — 1 tsp (minced) Fresh coriander — 1/2 cup (finely chopped) Fresh green chilli — 2 or 3 (finely chopped) Lime juice — 1 tbsp Cumin seeds — 1 tsp Paprika powder — ½ tsp Black pepper — ½  tsp Vegetable stock — 1 cube Salt as per taste Oil — 1 tbsp Method for cabbage rolls: Washing the minced meat: 1

Using a strainer bowl, wash the ground/minced meat with cold water to remove excess blood

Tip: Do not squeeze the meat as you wash to avoid losing flavour


Before cooking, pat and dry the meat with a paper towel

Tip: Paper towels are excellent at absorbing extra water


Keep the meat in the refrigerator wrapped for at least 45 minutes to allow it to dry completely

Cooking the ground meat: 1

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add onions


Cook the onions till they are softened, but not quite translucent or golden brown

Tip: Stir occasionally, until the onions are very soft and can be mashed with a spoon


Add ginger and garlic paste and sauté for a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant and brown


Add bay leaves, caraway seeds, black cardamom, turmeric, all-spice powder, combination spices powder and salt with half a cup of water

Stir rapidly

Tip: Adjust the heat if necessary

Avoid burning the mixture, and add water in very small amounts only if you need it to prevent the mixture from sticking


Cook until the oil separates


Add ground meat and sauté with the spice mixture for a few minutes

Tip: Adjust the heat to prevent the meat from sticking

The meat should be well done and not pink

Allow the spices to infuse the meat


Add half a cup of water and continue cooking until the water is absorbed


Add tomatoes and cook until the meat is done and the oil separates


Meanwhile, in a large saucepan on medium heat, stir fry green soybeans until they are tender

Mix them well with the meat mixture


Set aside the mixture for wrapping

Boiling the cabbage roll: 1

Heat a large pot with water, and bring it to boil

Carefully add raw leaves of cabbage to boil for up to four minutes until they are tender, and ready to wrap

Tip: Discard leaves that are discoloured or torn


Let the leaves cool

Set them aside for wrapping

Wrapping the cabbage roll: 1

Place about one table spoon of meat mixture in the centre of each cabbage leaf, and tightly roll it up, tucking in the ends


Repeat the process with each cabbage leaf until all the meat mixture is used

Set aside

Method for tomato sauce: 1

Place the tomatoes in boiling water, bring it to simmer and cook for up to four minutes


Drain and skin the tomatoes and blend the skinless tomatoes in the food processor


Heat the large saucepan and add oil over medium heat


Add chopped onions and garlic paste

Cook till they begin to brown


Add cumin seeds, chilli powder, paprika, vegetable stock and salt

Stir for a few minutes

Tip: Add water to prevent from sticking


Add tomato puree, paprika and black pepper

Keep stirring the tomato sauce frequently to prevent it from sticking to the pan


Add cilantro, green chilli and lime juice

Let it simmer to blend all the flavours for a few minutes

Adjust the salt as needed

Method for baking: 1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit


Use a large baking dish, spray it with oil


Arrange the stuffed cabbage rolls about one to two inches apart


Bake them for 15 to 20 minutes until the stuffed cabbage is tender


Broil for two to three minutes

Serving:   Carefully transfer the stuffed cabbage rolls in a serving dish

Sprinkle with tomato sauce

Serve hot

Notes: 1

With this recipe, we can use any type of filling

My family enjoys the meat mixture prepared with Pakistani ingredients


You can prepare these rolls in advance and serve them whenever you want


You can refrigerate the rolls for up to three to four days

(All photos: Ayishah Taliaferro)

Date:05-Sep-2019 Reference:View Original Link