Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes

Spicy Cabbage Rolls

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12 oz. minced pork
2 leafy heads of Chinese cabbage
3 oz. carrot
3 oz. lotus-root
2 eggs
2 tablespoons soya sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon gourmet powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour in 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons peanut oil
15 grains Chinese peppercorn
3 cloves anise
1 small piece cinnamon a dash of five-spice powder
2 tablespoons scallion
1 tablespoon ginger
2 tablespoons cooking wine

1) Wash and peel carrot and lotus-root. Cut both into tiny cubelets of 1/8 inch square. Parboil and cool.

Mince half of the scallion and ginger and cut the other half into sections/slices respectively.

Peel off cabbage leaves carefully without damage. Parboil in boiling water and spread out to cool.

2) Put pork mince in a small pot and add eggs, soya sauce (1 tablespoon), salt (1/2 teaspoon), gourmet powder (1/4 teaspoon), cornflour solution, minced scallion and ginger, shredded carrot and lotus-root; mix well.

Spread cabbage leaves and dry them with a clean cloth. Smear minced pork as filling, about the thickness of the index finger, on one edge of each leaf. Roll leaf into a roll about as thick as the thumb. Cut roll into 2-inch sections, and arrange them well in an aluminum lunch box.

3) Heat peanut oil in frying pan. Add scallion sections, ginger slices, Chinese peppercorn, anise and cinnamon, stir a little and follow with "five-spice powder", soya sauce, cooking wine, sugar, salt (1/2 teaspoon), gourmet powder (1/4 teaspoon) and an adequate amount of boiling water. Bring to a boil and pour this sauce into box containing the filled cabbage rolls, with the sauce just on the same level as the rolls. Move box on fire, bring to a boil and then simmer on slow fire for 25 minutes.

Notes:

(1) Lotus-root is used to add color and taste to the dish. The result would be still better, if instead of lotus-root, dried winter mushrooms, winter bamboo shoots, dried shrimps and dried northern mushrooms are used.

(2) Cabbage leaves must not be over-boiled. If Chinese cabbage is unavailable, ordinary cabbage may be used in its place.

(3) The cabbage rolls had better consist of 2-3 layers of cabbage. They should be tightly rolled or they may come apart during cooking.

(4) Cooking time for the dish must not be over long. Overcooked cabbage will be formless.

(5) This dish is inviting in color, smell and taste. Soft in texture, it is especially good for elderly people.

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