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Steamed Napa Rolls


  • Salt

  • 1 head napa cabbage

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated, plus 1 small chunk fresh ginger, thinly sliced

  • 8-10 scallions, thinly sliced, divided

  • 1/2 pound small to medium size shrimp, tails and shells removed, deveined and roughly chopped

  • 1 can water chestnuts (8 ounces), drained and finely chopped

  • 1/2 pound ground pork

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup shredded carrots

  • 1/4 cup sherry

  • 2 tablespoons chili paste

  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

  • Zest and juice of 1 lime

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 cup white rice

  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus additional for steaming

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • Duck sauce, for dipping

  • Spicy Chinese mustard, for dipping


Fill a medium size saucepan with salted water about halfway up the pot. Place it over high heat and bring it to a boil.

Remove eight of the outer leaves of the cabbage (look for leaves that aren't torn). Cut off the thick ends where the leaves were attached to the stem. Thinly slice the remaining head of cabbage until you've got about 2 cups of sliced cabbage, then reserve.

Drop the eight intact cabbage leaves into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes, until tender. Drain the cabbage leaves and place them into a bowl of ice water (or run them under cold water in the sink) to stop them from cooking. Lay the leaves out on a clean kitchen towel, blot them dry and reserve.

Add the garlic, grated ginger and half of the scallions into a food processor. Pulse the machine until the veggies are chopped up, then add the shrimp and water chestnuts. Run the machine until the shrimp are ground into a paste, then turn everything out into a mixing bowl. Add the pork, egg, shredded cabbage, carrots, sherry, chili paste, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and the lime zest and juice. Combine the ingredients with your hands until evenly mixed. Give your hands a wash and lay out cabbage leaves on the counter. Divide the meat and veggie mixture among the leaves. Roll them up – starting at the leafy end and rolling towards the stem end – just like you'd roll up a burrito, tucking the sides in as you go. Secure them closed with a toothpick, if necessary. Once all of your cabbage rolls are assembled, place a medium size pot with a lid over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of vegetable oil, about 2 tablespoons. Add the rice to the pan and cook it for 1 minute, then add the chicken stock. Bring the liquids up to a bubble, then put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat and cook until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, 18-20 minutes. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and stir in all but a small handful of the remaining scallions. With your rice working, place a large, lidded skillet over medium-high heat with enough chicken stock to fill it about an inch high and bring it to a bubble. Place the cabbage rolls into the boiling stock and put the lid on the pan. Steam the wrappers until the meat has cooked through, about 10 minutes. While everything cooks, in a small serving bowl, stir together the remaining soy sauce, sesame oil and scallions with the honey, ginger slices and a splash of water. Put this dipping sauce onto a serving platter along with the duck sauce and mustard. Serve the Steamed Napa Rolls on the platter with the scallion rice on the side.