Sesame Chicken Cabbage Rolls

Serves 8 to 10 (about 20 cabbage rolls).

Note: Look for a cantaloupe-size cabbage with outer leaves larger than your hand. If you dislike touching raw chicken, wear food-safe gloves, which are available in grocery and kitchen supply stores, pharmacies and online. The filling can be made one day in advance, wrapped well and refrigerated. The cooked rolls will keep for up to two days. To reheat, make sure there is liquid on the bottom of the pan, and reheat over medium heat on the stovetop, or in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. From Cathy Barrow.

• 1 (1 1/2 lb.) head savoy cabbage

• 1/4 c. toasted sesame oil

• 1/4 c. fresh lime juice

• 1/4 c. cornstarch

• 1/4 c. tamari or soy sauce

• 2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger root

• 1 tbsp. minced garlic

• 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

• 1 tsp. kosher salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 2 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-size pieces

• 1 c. diced carrots (about 2 medium)

• 1 c. frozen peas

• 1/2 c. diced celery (about 1 rib)

• 1/2 c. uncooked basmati rice

• 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

• 1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds (see Note)

• 2 c. chicken stock

• 1/3 c. rice wine vinegar


Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a strong boil. Using a sharp paring knife, remove the core from the cabbage, leaving the rest of the head intact. Lower the cabbage into the boiling water. It takes about 1 minute for the outer leaves to cook, and as they soften, remove them from the water and place on a cutting board. Continue to remove softened leaves as you are able. The entire cabbage should be softened within about 5 minutes. Carefully remove from the water and continue to peel the leaves away until you have about 20 leaves stacked up. (There may be leftover cabbage.)

Using a sharp knife, remove the center rib from each cabbage leaf, leaving the rest of the leaf intact.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, lime juice, cornstarch and tamari or soy sauce until smooth. Add the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and stir well. Stir in the chicken, carrots, peas, celery, rice, cilantro and sesame seeds, coating everything with the sauce and distributing the vegetables evenly through the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the mixture and place it in the center of a cabbage leaf. Tuck in the sides and bring the bottom edges together to make a tidy package. Place the cabbage roll seam side down in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling, stacking the rolls in two or three layers, if necessary.

Pour the chicken stock and rice wine vinegar over the cabbage rolls. Cut a parchment circle to fit the inside the pan and place on top of the rolls; this will help them steam evenly. Cover the pot and bake (middle rack) for 1 hour, until the rolls are cooked through.

Serve hot with some of the steaming juices spooned over the rolls.

Nutrition information per each of 10 servings:

Calories 410 Fat 26 g Sodium 680 mg

Carbohydrates 22 g Saturated fat 6 g Added sugars 3 g

Protein 24 g Cholesterol 110 mg Dietary fiber 4 g