Cabbage Roll Fried Rice Recipe for a Fragrant Fried Rice Inspired by Traditional Cabbage Rolls. Fried rice recipes beyond the obvious. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Cabbage Roll Fried Rice Recipe for a Fragrant Fried Rice Inspired by my Grandmother’s Cabbage Rolls

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My cabbage roll fried rice recipe makes an incredibly tasty, fragrant fried rice inspired by my Russian grandmother’s cabbage rolls. To the fried onion, garlic, carrot, ground pork, and rice mixture normally ensconced within cabbage leaves, I add shredded cabbage, spices, a little tomato paste, and fresh aromatic dill to make a deliciously addictive fried rice that is my new favourite dish.

If you love cabbage rolls but you think they’re too complicated or time-consuming to make (they’re not) and you love fried rice, you must make my cabbage roll fried rice recipe next time you have leftover steamed rice. We adore rice and living in Southeast Asia we eat a lot of it, which means we often have leftover rice, and are always looking for new ways to use it. Have you tried my Thai massaman curry fried rice?

Every time I’ve made the savoury minced meat and rice mixture for stuffed cabbage rolls in recent years I’ve found myself contemplating the idea of creating a cabbage roll fried rice recipe. Well, I finally did it and I’m so pleased I did. It’s absolutely delicious and incredibly addictive, so take that as a warning.

But before I tell you all about my cabbage roll fried rice recipe, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve enjoyed my family recipes or any of our recipes, please consider supporting Grantourismo by buying us a coffee (we’ll use the money to buy cooking ingredients for recipes we’re testing) or donating to our epic original Cambodian culinary history and cookbook on Patreon.

Another way to support our site and the work we do here is by buying something from our Grantourismo Society-6 store, such as these gifts for food lovers or food-themed reusable cloth face masks, designed with Terence’s mouthwatering images.

You could also use our links, from which we may earn a small commission but you won’t pay any extra, to purchase travel insurancerent a car or campervan or motorhome, book accommodation, book a tour on Klook or Get Your Guide or buy something on Amazon, such as these cookbooks for culinary travellersJames Beard award-winning cookbookscookbooks by Australian chefsclassic cookbooks for serious cookstravel books to inspire wanderlust, and gifts for Asian food lovers and picnic lovers.

Now let me tell you more about my cabbage roll fried rice recipe.

Cabbage Roll Fried Rice Recipe for a Fragrant Fried Rice Inspired by Traditional Russian Cabbage Rolls

My cabbage roll fried rice recipe makes such a deliciously addictive fried rice dish, I will definitely be putting this recipe on repeat. While I’ve based what is essentially a cabbage fried rice on my recipe for baboushka’s Russian cabbage rolls – cabbage leaves stuffed with a savoury rice and minced pork and beef mixture, baked in a rich tomato sauce – you could certainly adapt the recipe to your favourite style of cabbage rolls.

Because there must be as many cabbage roll recipes around the planet as there are varieties of rice dishes. Before I began researching culinary histories, I thought of cabbage rolls as a quintessentially Russian dish, as all I knew were my grandmother’s cabbage rolls, which my mother also made, and then Terence and I began making.

But later I realised that not only are there a variety of cabbage rolls in Russia, as it’s such a massive country and so multicultural, but there are cabbage rolls made in most Eastern European, Central European, Central Asian, and Northern European countries, and they’re all a bit ‘same same but different’ as they say here in Southeast Asia.

After we moved to the Arabian Gulf in the late 1990s and began travelling widely around the Middle East, we found cabbage rolls throughout the region. Egyptian cabbage rolls were similar to the Russian cabbage rolls, yet with the addition of cumin and mint.

The Egyptian ‘stuffed cabbage’ (rolls), as the name translates to, like the Syrian and Lebanese cabbage rolls, were much smaller.  In the Gulf, North Africa, the Levant and Turkey, grape vine leaves were mostly used to wrap around a savoury stuffing, although in northern Turkey, along the Black Sea, just across the water from Russia and Ukraine, cabbage was used.

Cabbage Roll Fried Rice Recipe for a Fragrant Fried Rice Inspired by Traditional Cabbage Rolls. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

I remember spotting cabbage rolls one summer in Sweden, where they’re called kåldolmar, which translates to ‘cabbage dolma’. ‘Dolma’ of course being the name of a family of stuffed dishes, not only stuffed cabbage rolls or stuffed vine leaves, that are found in Turkey, the Balkans, Iraq, and Iran, where grape vines are also used as well as cabbage.

Dolma arrived in Sweden in 1715 with Ottoman Empire cooks, who travelled with Sweden’s King Charles XII, who’d been seeking refuge from Sultan Ahmed III in present-day Moldavia after losing the Battle of Poltava to Russia’s Tsar Peter the Great. So the first reference to cabbage rolls in a Swedish cookbook dates to 1765.

Cabbage rolls are thought to have arrived in Russia, along with Ukraine, even earlier, in the 13th century with Mongols and Tartars following the invasion of Kievan Rus, the founding empire from which Russia, Belarus and Ukraine would eventually form. The Mongols destroyed many Kievan Rus cities and towns including Ryazan, Moscow, Vladimir, and Kiev, making others vassals for some 200 years.

The Mongols under Genghis Khan had conquered most of China, Siberia, Central Asia, India, South Asia, parts of Southeast Asia, and even the East Asian archipelagos of Korea and Japan, before arriving in Kievan Rus. There are also cabbage rolls in China, Korea and Japan.

The Mongols would later invade much of Central Europe, Anatolia (now Turkey), Persia, Syria and Mesopotamia. The Mongols and ethnic groups who fought with them, such as the Tartars, influenced cultures they conquered as much as they adapted to and adopted aspects of local culture, such as food.

While the Mongols are credited with the spread of skewered meats such as kebabs and shasliks, stews, noodles, dumplings, and dairy products, I often wondered if they carried cabbage rolls on their conquests. More on that when I share my cabbage roll casserole recipe. Just a few tips to making this cabbage roll fried rice recipe.

Cabbage Roll Fried Rice Recipe for a Fragrant Fried Rice Inspired by Traditional Cabbage Rolls. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Tips to Making this Cabbage Roll Fried Rice Recipe for a Fragrant Fried Rice Inspired by Traditional Russian Cabbage Rolls

As usual, just a few quick tips to making this cabbage roll fried rice recipe. If you don’t have leftover rice in the fridge, steam one cup of jasmine rice in a rice cooker, then set it aside to cool.

Even better, cook it the day before you plan to make my cabbage fried rice and keep it in the fridge. Don’t try to fry it directly from the rice cooker. It will just go mushy.

I like to use a round flat bottomed wok to make this, and most other dishes to be honest, as it heats up quickly, retains heat well, and food just cooks faster.

Slice and dice your onion and carrot very finely, as you would for a classic Chinese special fried rice. Also, either shred the cabbage or slice the cabbage finely. You may want to use a mandoline for that job.

When preparing cabbage for cabbage rolls we blanch the whole leaves in hot water or boil them to soften them, but that’s not necessary for this cabbage roll fried rice recipe as you want the cabbage to have some crunch.

After you add the minced pork and ground beef, tomato paste, bay leaves, seasoning and spices, stir-fry to combine the ingredients well, but only fry until the meat is just-cooked.

Add the steamed rice and finely diced gherkins/dill pickles and, once again, stir-fry until everything is well-combined, separating the rice as you do so.

Make sure to taste it at this point then adjust the seasoning and spices to your palate, and taste again. Add the fresh dill, combine it well, and you’re done.

Distribute your cabbage roll fried rice amongst the bowls of your loved-ones if you’re eating this as a single dish meal.

Otherwise, transfer the cabbage fried rice to one big bowl if you’re presenting it as one of an array of dishes for a family-style sharing meal, then garnish the rice with more fresh fragrant dill.

Serve immediately with dishes of homemade dill pickles and pickled cabbage on the side, as well as more fragrant fresh dill, sour cream, salt and pepper, rye bread, a Russian garden salad, and shots of vodka. Make that a bottle.

Cabbage Roll Fried Rice Recipe for a Fragrant Fried Rice Inspired by Traditional Russian Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage Roll Fried Rice Recipe for a Fragrant Fried Rice Inspired by Traditional Cabbage Rolls. Fried rice recipes beyond the obvious. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Cabbage Roll Fried Rice Recipe for a Fragrant Fried Rice Inspired by Traditional Russian Cabbage Rolls

My cabbage roll fried rice recipe makes a fried rice inspired by my Russian grandmother’s cabbage rolls. To the fried onion, garlic, carrot, ground pork, and rice filling that cabbage leaves are usually wrapped around, I add spices, pureed tomatoes, shredded cabbage, and fresh fragrant dill to make a deliciously addictive fried rice that is my new favourite dish.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main
Cuisine Asian, Fusion, Russian
Servings made with recipe4
Calories 521 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup jasmine rice - steamed – or 300g leftover steamed rice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil - more if needed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 180 g brown onion - finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • 200 g carrot - finely diced
  • 300 g cabbage - finely sliced
  • 125 g minced pork
  • 125 g ground beef
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 large gherkin/dill pickle - finely diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill

Instructions
 

  • If you don’t have leftover rice, steam one cup of jasmine rice in a rice cooker, then set it aside to cool.
  • In a round flat-bottomed wok, heat two tablespoons of olive oil, add the butter, then fry the finely chopped onion until soft, add the garlic and continue frying until the garlic is fragrant and onion is translucent.
  • Add another tablespoon of olive oil, then the grated carrot and sliced cabbage, combine the ingredients well, stir-fry for a few minutes, then pop the lid on for five minutes or so until the cabbage starts to soften but still retains some crunch.
  • Add the minced pork and ground beef, tablespoon of tomato paste, bay leaves, seasoning and spices and bay leaves, and combine well and continue to fry until the minced meats are just cooked.
  • Lastly, add the steamed rice, finely diced gherkin/dill pickle and stir-fry until everything is well-combined. Taste, adjust the seasoning to your palate, then add the and fresh dill and fry to combine everything one last time.
  • Transfer to a bowl, garnish with more fragrant dill and serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 521kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 16gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 1318mgPotassium: 661mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 9164IUVitamin C: 36mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 2mg

Please do let us know in the comments below if you made our cabbage roll fried rice recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.

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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

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