A cabbage roll is a dish made up of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings. It is well-known in the Balkans, Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iranian cuisines, as well as to Western Asia and Northern China.
Traditional European meat fillings include beef, lamb, or pork seasoned with garlic, onion, and spices. Grains, including rice and barley, mushrooms, and vegetables, are also often included.
Fermented cabbage leaves, particularly in southeastern Europe, are used for wrapping. Seafood, tofu, and mushroom shiitake can also be used in Asia. Chinese cabbage is commonly used for wrapping in Asian countries.
About Ukrainian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Historically, cabbage rolls have origins in the ancient middle east and spread as trade networks grew, and people migrated to Eastern Europe. Some Jewish scholars have found signs that stuffed cabbage rolls, as early as 1500 years ago, were part of Jewish food culture.
Tomato-based sauces are characteristic of Eastern Europe. Alternatively, they sometimes use pure sour cream. The cabbage in Lebanon is stuffed with rice and hazelnut meat and rolled into the size of a cigar. It is usually served with a side dish of yogurt and a vinaigrette of lemon and olive oil, flavored with garlic and dried mint.
A variant called holishkes is traditionally eaten by Jews on Simchat Torah. Recipes vary according to the region. For example, Romanians and Northern Poles prefer a savory sauce, while Galicia and Ukraine favor sweet-and-sour tastes.
Stuffed cabbage rolls are bringing back memories of family holidays and meals for many of us. It really is a comfort meal. Immigrants from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia took the recipes and customs to North America. For more international recipes, click here.
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