Wednesday, May 21, 2008


While bunking with Linda and Preecha down their basement flat at Portobello Road, I had a taste of Golabki made by their Polish landlady. I never got its recipe other than the fact that there was cabbage leaves with rice in them. That culinary memory has ever since been etched on my mind, fuzzy though, and in later years when I was into cooking, I've been doing my version. Hence, the title is not 'Golabki' up there.

I've used carrot, chillies and mushrooms to sweeten and colorized the deal. One can use raw diced onions, but I find caramelized onions taste better. Capsicum can be used instead of de-seeded chillies.

For the filling, I've used it to make about 20 small (½ a leaf) rolls, which I took to a potluck party, and the remaining for 5 big whole leaf rolls. Probably you can get 15 big rolls out of the filling. The sauce (shown below) is good for the 5 big rolls. You'll need 3 portions of the recipe for the entire filling.

Cook the rice in advance and let it cool and be dry of moisture before using it to mix with other filling ingredients. I used a local 'red' rice (purple color), which needs more than the 1:1 ratio of rice and water for it to be soft. I cooked ¾ cup rice with a slightly less than the required water, because the rice will be soaked and cooked in the tomato sauce again.


½ Cup Rice

1 Doz. Mushrooms

1 Medium Carrot

4 Chillies

500 gm. Minced Beef

1Head Round Cabbage

2 Large Onions

1 Clove Garlic

1 Can Whole Tomato

Fry 1 large diced onions until soft before putting in the mushroom, and fry for a couple of minutes. Scoop out and let it cool.


Dice the carrot and chillies (de-seeded).
In a large bowl place minced beef, diced carrot, chillies and cooled fried diced onions with mushroom, and cooked rice. Seasoning: 2 tbsp. light soy sauce, 2 tbsp. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce,1 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. thyme, 1 tbsp. parsley, 2 tsp. paprika or Cajun seasoning, and 2 tbsp. cornflour.
Use your hand to massage the mixture throughly. Leave in the fridge for 15 minutes before use.


Fry the 1 big diced onions and 1 clove of garlic with 4 tbsp. of oil until soft over medium heat.
Pour in liquidized canned whole tomato (or puree), plus ½ cup of water.
Add 2 tsp. basil, 2 tsp. sugar and 1½ tsp. salt. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.

• Use a sharp knife to cut the leaf at the bottom core, and pull outward hold the stem and separate the leaf individually.
• Blanch in hot water for a minute or so until the leaves are soft. Then rinse in cold water.
• Cut a 'V' shape incision on the edge of the stem and remove the stem.


Gather the silted leaf so that the 2 halves overlap. Take a beef ball and place on one edge of the leave, leaving an inch allowance towards its end.

Fold as shown below, and finally trim off the excess end bit.

Closely pack the wrapped cabbage flap-side down into a casserole bowl and topped off with the cooked tomato sauce.

Cover the bowl with foil and put in a 160°C oven and bake for 45 minutes. Serve.

Cut the leaf in half after removing the stem for the small rolls. Wrap the parcel in much the same way as above method. If the leaf is a bit small, join 2 small leaves to make up for it. Packing them closely will ensure that wrapping won't open during the cooking process. The leaf will bind to filling when cooked.

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As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

May the Farce be With You!


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