Updated: Mar 27, 2022
I am gonna use the same veg-nut concoction (inspired by ChefSteps) for this Russian recipe too. It took me a while to decide what kinda fillings for this awesome Russian rolled cabbage dish. I figured that the rest of the ingredients will not go well with ground chicken (as you all know that I do not consume other cuts of meat like beef, mutton or pork), so a vegetarian option might be a better idea. Agree?
Why vegetarian? Butter is used. You can of cos replace the butter with any vegan option to make this dish 100% vegan. Golubtsi originated as a way to use any leftover food. It consists of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings.
I have heard that different households actually prepare Golubtsi with their own unique fillings and sauces. The filling traditionally consists of ground beef, lamb or pork which is typically seasoned with garlic and onion. Grains such as rice or barley can often be included in the filling as well. Make your own Golubtsi fillings!
Helen Rennie is a genius! I also discovered an excellent way to reheat any leftover Golubtsi from Helen Rennie. If you do not know who she is, it is time to check her YouTube channel out. Give her a follow while you are at it. I know it is a long process. But it is kinda therapeutic to take the mind off from this troubled world, right? Anyway, in closing, this is my humble version of Golubtsi and I hope you will enjoy making this dish as much as eating it as I do.
Shiitake Mushrooms Coarsely Sliced, 400g
Cauliflower Coarsely Sliced, 800g
Pecans / Walnuts, 200g
White Cabbage, 1 About 1.5kg
Sea Salt, Pinch
Basmati / Jasmine Rice Washed, 100g
Yellow Onion Coarsely Sliced, 1
Garlic Coarsely Minced, 5 Cloves
Celery Coarsely Sliced, 2 Ribs
Unsalted Butter, 45g
Silken Tofu, 300g
Mushroom Powder, 1 TBSP
Black Pepper, 1 TBSP
Nori Flakes, 1 TBSP
High Quality Olive Oil, For Cooking
Sea Salt, Pinch
Black Pepper, Pinch
Shallots Finely Sliced, 5
Granulated Sugar, Pinch
Carrots Grated, 2 Large
Yukon Gold Potatoes Grated, 2
Garlic Finely Minced, 3 Cloves
White Wine, 120ml
Canned Tomatoes, 2 Cans / 800g
Balsamic Vinegar, 2 TBSP
Dried Dill, For Garnishing
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
Heavy Sauce Pot
Prepare the veg.
Preheat oven to 70 degree celsius or 160 fahrenheit.
Transfer the mushrooms and cauliflower onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, spreading out evenly.
Wack into the oven and bake for 2.5 hrs.
Transfer into a food processor and blitz until coarsely ground.
*Do not take it too far as it will become a paste.*
Transfer onto a large mixing bowl.
Blitz the pecans in the food processor. Pulse it a few times for coarse ground.
Transfer the pecans into the bowl as well.
Mix everything together until well combined.
The ratio is 1 part nuts, 2 parts mushrooms and 4 parts cauliflower. This is a fantastic plant-based substitute for ground meat as inspired by ChefSteps.
This recipe requires 500g of this veg-nut mixture.
Prepare the fillings.
Core the cabbage with a sharp knife.
*Make sure the core is properly removed to prevent difficulty in peeling layer by layer.*
In a heavy sauce pot (big enuff to submerge the cabbage), add water and a large pinch of salt.
Turn the heat up to medium high and stir until the salt has dissolved.
Gently add in the cabbage, cored side down.
Make sure the cabbage is submerged. Add more water if necessary.
The first layers should peel off easily once the water starts to simmer.
If the first layers are damaged, reserve and set aside.
If not, lay them on a baking tray.
Continue peeling until the layers are too small to be wrapped.
Remove the remaining cabbage and set it aside to cool down slightly.
Set the cabbages layers aside until they are cool enuff to handle as well.
Using the same pot of water, add in the washed rice.
Cook for 10 mins.
While the rice is cooking, add onion, garlic, celery and butter into a food processor.
Blitz until smooth and comes together into a paste.
Transfer the butter mixture into a large mixing bowl together with the veg-nut mixture.
Add in tofu, panko, 12g of sea salt, mushroom powder, pepper and nori flakes.
At this time, the rice should be done. Drain and discard the liquid.
Transfer the rice into the mixture.
Use both of your hands and mix until well combined.
Taste and adjust for seasonings.
At this time, the cabbage layers should be cool enuff to handle.
Spoon 2 TBSP of fillings onto the end of a cabbage layer.
Roll and tuck tightly.
Bring 2 left and right corners to the middle.
Continue rolling and tucking.
Transfer onto a baking tray seam side down.
Repeat the steps for the remaining layers and fillings.
As for the smaller layers, stack 2 layers on top of each other and repeat the stuffing process.
*If you have any leftover cabbage layers, thinly slice them and set them aside.*
Prepare the stew.
The leftover smaller cabbage layers should be cool enuff to handle.
Thinly slice them into strips.
In a large heavy sauce pot over medium heat, add 2 TBSP olive oil.
Once the oil is heated up, add in all the sliced leftover cabbages.
Season with salt and pepper.
Saute until lightly caramelized. It should take about 15 mins.
Remove the cabbage from the pot.
Add in another 2 TBSP of olive oil into the same pot.
Add in the shallots.
Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
Saute until translucent.
Add in carrots and potatoes.
Saute until well combined.
Add in garlic and saute until aromatic.
Deglaze with the white wine.
Add in the caramelized cabbage and tomatoes.
Saute until well combined.
Add in balsamic vinegar and stir to combine well.
Bring it up to a simmer.
Taste and adjust for seasonings with salt, pepper and sugar.
Preheat oven to 165 degree celsius or 325 fahrenheit.
Transfer 3/4 of the stew onto a large bowl, leaving 1/4 in the pot.
Place the rolled cabbages on the stew, without overcrowding or overlapping.
Pour 1/4 of the stew over the rolled cabbages.
Stack another layer of rolled cabbages, followed by the remaining stew.
Repeat for the last layer of rolled cabbages and stew.
I managed to get 3 layers of rolled cabbages.
Used the damaged cabbage layer as a lid on the stew.
*If you do not have any damage layer, you can use parchment paper.*
Cover the pot with a lid.
Wack the whole pot into the oven and bake for 1 hr or until the rolled cabbage pass the skewer test (the skewer should poke without any resistance).
Remove from oven.
Spoon the stew onto serving platings.
And place the rolled cabbages over the top.
Garnish with some dried dill.
If you have leftover rolled cabbages, keep chill in the fridge.
On serving day, heat a skillet with some olive oil.
Place the rolled cabbages seam side down.
Cook until the bottom is lightly charred.
Flip. Add in 2 TBSP of butter, tilt the skillet and baste.
Transfer onto a plate to rest.
Add the stew onto the skillet with some water to loosen up.
Cook until the stew starts to simmer.
Spoon the stew onto serving plates.
Place the seared rolled cabbages over the stew.
Garnish with some dried dill.
1 part pecan, 2 parts mushrooms and 4 parts cauliflower. Fantastic plant-based alternative.
Helen Rennie's way of cwisping up the leftover rolled cabbage...
Sure beats ground chicken...