This Pork Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup is light yet fragrant and flavorful. You can serve the soup as an appetizer, side dish or even as a main dish with rice.
It seems cabbage rolls can be found in both Asian and Western cuisines. This is the Asian version that our family enjoys in Vietnam. The Vietnamese translation is “canh bap cai cuon thit“.
This stuffed cabbage soup recipe features cabbage rolls filled with pork, wood-ear mushrooms and a lot of minced aromatics and black pepper. The rolls are then simmered in water, creating a light soup with natural sweetness from cabbage and pork. It is healthy, tasty and beautiful to look at. You can watch how we cook the soup in the video below.
Watch the Recipe Video
The main ingredients for this Vietnamese cabbage roll soup are cabbage and ground pork. So what type of cabbage to use for cabbage rolls? We use heart-shaped green cabbage, which has softer and thinner leaves than regular green cabbage. You can try other varieties such as savoy cabbage or the leaves of napa cabbage will also work great.
Other ingredients to make the filling flavorful are wood-ear mushroom (providing textures), garlic, shallots, ginger, fish sauce, and black pepper. Ginger and black pepper make the filling especially fragrant. Cabbage and ginger, by the way, is an excellent flavor combination in Vietnamese cuisine.
We use strips of scallions to tie and secure the rolls. My husband told me that his family sometimes used bamboo toothpicks to keep the rolls in place and remove them later when serving the soup. I like to use scallions since they make the rolls look really pretty.
How to Cook Pork Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup
This soup is quick and easy to cook. The most time-consuming part is forming the cabbage rolls.
First, you will need to blanch cabbage leaves and scallions quickly to soften them. Then fill each leaf with the filling, roll and tie with a strip of scallion.
Once the rolls are ready, simmer them for 10-12 minutes. The cooking time depends on how large your rolls are. I often use about 1 tablespoon of filling or slightly more for each leaf. More filling will require more cooking time, and prolonged cooking time may make the leaves and scallions turn too yellowish.
Detailed list of ingredients and instructions for this stuffed cabbage roll soup recipe are in the recipe card below. I think you will be surprised at how tasty this simple soup is, so I hope you will give it a try. You may also want to try this Vietnamese stuffed bitter melon soup.
More Vietnamese Soup Recipes
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Pork Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup
For the cabbage rolls
- olive oil (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 1/2-3 cups water (you can use stock for a stronger flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- roughly chopped cilantro
- Cover the wood-ear mushrooms with hot water for several minutes to rehydate them. Then rinse, discard the tough stems, roll them together and julienne. Roughly chop the julienned mushrooms.
- Place a pan over medium heat and add about 2 teaspoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, sauté minced shallots for a few seconds until fragrant. Then add garlic and ginger and cook for a few more seconds until fragrant.
- Add the chopped wood-ear mushroom to the pan, stir and cook for about a minute. Add fish sauce, stir and cook for a few more seconds and then transfer to a mixing bowl to let it cool slightly.
- Add ground pork, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and black pepper to the mixing bowl with the wood-ear mushroom. Mix together until just combined to make the filling for the cabbage rolls.
- Heat plenty of water in a pot or deep pan. Once the water is simmering, add the cabbage leaves and blanch briefly just until they start to get softened. Transfer to a plate, then add scallion stalks to the water and also blanch briefly until just softened. Remove from the water.
- On a clean working surface or cutting board, lay a cabbage leaf flat. Place 1 tablespoon to 1 1/2 tablespoon of filling on one end of the leaf and roll into a cabbage roll about 2 1/2 inch long. Use a long strip of scallion to wrap around the roll and tie a knot twice to secure the roll. Continue with the remaining leaves and filling.
- Bring 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and then add the cabbage rolls. Once it starts to boil again, lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the filling is fully cooked and the leaves are tender. You can taste the soup and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Transfer the cabbage roll soup to individual serving bowls or a large serving bowl to share. You can sprinkle some black pepper on top and garnish with chopped cilantro.