Cooking with white cabbage

17 February 2018


In the middle of winter in our CSA baskets and our Alsatian food markets we only see cabbage, cabbage and cabbage! And we sure know it is not easy to like cabbage.

Each year we give ourselves the mission to find various recipes to make cabbages bearable. Hide it perhaps between other ingredients, hide its smell with lots of spices or sometimes accept it as it is.

So we thought we could share some of favorite white cabbage recipes with you today in case you have trouble finding new ideas.

Chicken and white cabbage Empanadas


In my home country, Iran, there is a famous dish called Kalam Polo. It is a specialty of the city of Shiraz. The basic ingredients are rice, cabbage and meatballs.

In Iran as here in France, cabbages don’t have many fans, but the Shirazi Kalam Polo, everyone adores. To pierce this mystery I looked at other ingredients in this dish. There are indeed about 8 different spices to perfume this poor, unloved cabbage. So I decided to take inspiration from Kalam Polo for the preparation of a dish more suited to European tastes. For that, I prepared a stuffing made of white cabbage, spices and chicken which I placed in pockets of puff pastry to make some sort of Empanadas. Empanadas, if you do not know, are a Hispanic specialties. We can also say that our dish looks like Pierogis, Samosas or Raviolis. It’s up to you to choose which name we can give.

Ingredients  (for about 20 Empanadas) :
  • 250g Ground chicken (or cut into very small pieces)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 10g Butter or oil
  • 300g White cabbage
  • 2cm Ginger
  • 1Cc Cinnamon
  • 1/2Cc Paprika
  • 1/4 Powdered cloves
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne
  • 1/4 Tsp Turmeric
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g Parsley
  • 3 Puff pastry
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • A handful of pistaches (optional)
  • A few rose pétales (optional)


Cut the cabbage into small strips. You can use a mandolin and separate the pieces afterwards.


Place the cabbage pieces on a tray and sprinkle with salt. Let them rest for half an hour.


Place the cabbage in a cloth, close it and compress to push out as much as juice as possible.


Heat the butter or oil in a pan and add the chopped onion, grated garlic and chopped chicken.


Let the chicken brown a little and then add cabbage, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, cloves, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and finally, the salt and pepper.


Cook for 5 minutes and add the chopped parsley. Cook for another 5 minutes.



Preheat the oven at 200°C.


Spread out your puff pastry and cut out circles of about 8 cm diameter. You will need between 20 and 25 circles.



Put 2 teaspoons of stuffing in the middle of each circle.


Close the circles by forming a crescent.



To seal the empanadas, the easiest way is the technique pressing fork, but you can also make folds in the shape of braids. For this, take the pointed end from one side and fold it inwards. Another pointed end is formed, fold it inwards and so on.



With a brush put egg yolk on all Empanadas.




Bake the Empanadas for half an hour.


For a finishing touch you can sprinkle your white cabbage Empanadas with crushed pistachio and rose petals.


Okonomiyaki (Japanese omelette with white cabbage)

Okonomiaki is a specialty of the city of Hiroshima. Although I have never been to Japan, I was lucky enough to taste some very good ones. I had, a few years ago, a Japanese flatmate who was a champion Okonomiaki maker. I did not get to know all the secrets of making this cabbage omelette, but I tried to do something similar.

Okonomiaki is a super simple dish to make. The only difficulty is to find the necessary ingredients. For exotic ingredients, we first have the Dashi broth. The most common Dashi is a simple fish broth made from kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo. Then we have the japanese mayonnaise and ketchup (more commonly known as okonomiaki sauce). You can find them in all Asian grocery stores but it is also possible to make them at home. There are more or less similar and easy recipes for these two ingredients down below. The coolest ingredient in Okonomiaki is probably the Bonito flake. As soon as you put them on the hot Okonomiaki the flakes begin to move as if they were alive. It is a fun thing to see. Finally, as an optional ingredient we have Nori seaweed and marinated ginger.

Ingredients (for 2 big parts) :
  • 1Tsp Dashi
  • 200ml Boiling water
  • 200g Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 150g White cabbage
  • 2 Tbsp Beansprouts
  • About 10 bacon stripes
  • 2 handfuls of bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
  • Marinated ginger
  • Nori seaweed flakes

For the Okonomiaki sauce :

  • 4 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 3½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 1½ Tsp Sugar

For the Kewpie mayonnaise :

  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 4 Tsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 330g Olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt



Cut the cabbage into small strips. You can use a mandolin and separate the pieces afterwards.



Mix the Dashi broth powder with boiling water and let it dilute.



In a bowl, mix the flour, broth, yeast and eggs. Mix well to obtain a smooth paste.



Add the white cabbage strips and the soy sprouts.



Heat a frying pan and place half of the bacon slices in crossed lines.


Pour over the bacon half of the egg and cabbage mixture. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes.


During this time you can prepare the sauces: for the Japanese ketchup it’s simple. Just mix all the ingredients.


For Kewpie mayonnaise, place the 2 egg yolks, vinegar, sugar and a little salt in the bowl and whisk until smooth.


Add the oil drop by drop, beating constantly. Continue beating after adding all the oil to form an emulsion.


Turn over the cabbage omelette and cook for another 5 minutes.


Move the omelette to a plate, with the bacon side down and pour a few lines of Okonomiaki sauce.


Now pour the mayonnaise the same way but on lines in the opposite side to create a grid.


Sprinkle a handful of bonito flakes over the Okonomiaki surface.



Add some Nori seaweed flakes and marinated ginger if you wish.


White cabbage and apple Kimchi

I end this article with a slightly modified recipe of a famous Korean food. If you do not know yet, Kimchi is a kind of condiment made from cabbage and spices that are fermented for weeks. The recipe you will see here is not the traditional recipe. The real thing is prepared with Chinese cabbage. However, I thought it was a good idea to try the original recipe by replacing some ingredients with those we can easily find in Alsace. The result was not bad at all!

  • 2Kg White cabbage
  • 300g Salt
  • 3 Big onions or 4 green onions
  • 2 Apples
  • 1 Carrotes
  • 2 Black raddishes

For the chili paste:

  • 1Tbsp Flour
  • 15cl Water
  • 70g Red pepper
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Tsp Grated ginger
  • 2 Tsp Fish sauce (Nuoc-mâm)
  • 1 Tbsp Grilles sesame
  • 1 Tbsp Honey


Cut the cabbage into small strips. You can use a mandolin and separate the pieces afterwards.


In a very large bowl, soak the cabbage in water and add the 300g of salt. Turn the cabbage a few times to dilute the salt. Let it rest for 4 hours.

Meanwhile, cut the other vegetables into slices.


In a saucepan, pour the flour in cold water and stir until there are no more lumps.




Cook over low heat, stirring, until it begins to boil and reaches the consistency of a creamy soup. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 40 minutes.


Add the chilli to the cooled flour soup and mix well. Let it rest for 20 minutes.




Add the grated ginger, garlic, fish sauce, sesame and honey.


Let’s get back to the cabbages now: drain them while running water over them.




Put the cabbage in the bowl. Cover with water and drain again. Repeat this step one more time.


When the cabbage is well drained, add the other vegetables and chili puree. Mix well.




Pour the Kimchi in airtight jars and squeeze to make it compact. Leave 1-2 cm of free space on top.


Leave at room temperature for 5 days. If the jars are too full, it is possible that at this stage they overflow and let out some chilli juice.



After this first phase of fermentation, you can put the jars in the fridge for slow fermentation and take some from time to time. Close the jars each time. You can keep this Kimchi up to 6 months.


Bon appétit!



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